Austin man accused in Mesquite murder

By David Webb Staff Writer

Police say victim was killed in his Mesquite apartment then dismembered, body parts spread over Hill County



Cody Troy Dacus

A 23-year-old Austin man is charged with the murder and dismemberment of a Mesquite man with whom he allegedly was involved in a gay relationship.

Cody Troy Dacus is being held in the Dallas County jail on $750,000 bond, charged with capital murder. He is accused of committing the murder in the victim’s Mesquite apartment in early August, dismembering the body with a hacksaw and transporting the body parts to a rural area in Hill County, according to Lt. Steve Callarman, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department.

The identify of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, Callarman said.

The cause of death is pending a ruling by the Dallas County medical examiner, and that will probably take several weeks because of the victim’s body being dismembered and the body parts being abandoned in the elements, he said.

The Hill County Sheriff’s Department helped the Mesquite Police Department execute a search warrant for the victim’s body parts, which were found west of Osceola on Aug. 23. The deceased was identified as a 51-year-old Romanian national, whose employer had filed a missing persons report when he failed to show up for work.

Mesquite police officers’ questioning of the victim’s associates revealed Dacus may have been one of the last people to see him alive. Austin police assisted Mesquite police in locating Dacus.

Robert Beard, a writer for The Reporter in Hillsboro who reported the discovery of the body parts, said Hill County authorities told him the suspect informed police he had been involved in a gay relationship with the victim.
But relatives of the suspect disputed the claim, saying Dacus was sexually abused by the victim, he said.

Beard said authorities told him sketches the victim made of Dacus were found inside his apartment and at the site where the body parts were discovered.

Callerman said he was unable to confirm that the victim and the suspect were involved in a gay relationship.

“I was told they were close acquaintances,” Callerman said. “It wasn’t just a stranger kind of incident.”

Information provided by the suspect reportedly led to the location of the body parts. The victim was dismembered and his body parts bagged to enable disposal of the body.

The suspect allegedly rode a bus to Austin after the victim’s death and borrowed a car to return to Mesquite to dispose of the body.

The victim’s head and bones from his arms and legs were found at two different locations near rural roads.

Authorities speculated wild animals had scattered the remains over a large area.

The victim’s torso was not found and may have been devoured by wild hogs, authorities said.

A farm near the area where the victim’s body parts were found reportedly once belonged to the suspect’s grandfather.

Lt. William Artesi, another spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department, said police officials are having trouble locating relatives of the victim.

“I don’t think they have been able to locate any family as of yet,” Artesi said.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 25, 2006.

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