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'Psychic' tip on Texas mayhem leads to serious search, but no bodies

A tip from a supposed "psychic" that dismembered bodies were on a rural property caused law enforcement officers to descend upon a Texas farmhouse. They found no bodies.
/ Source: and NBC News

A tip from a supposed "psychic" that dismembered bodies were on a rural property caused law enforcement officers to descend upon a Texas farmhouse Tuesday, but they found no bodies.

Liberty County Sheriff's Capt. Rex Evans said there was no evidence of foul play at the home.

Liberty County Judge Craig McNair told reporters at the scene about 8:15 p.m. that tips had come in Monday night and Tuesday morning from a supposed psychic of dismembered bodies on the property.

McNair said an initial visit on Monday by Liberty County sheriff's deputies found nothing amiss, but the psychic called back and said the deputies looked in the wrong place. McNair said deputies returned later Tuesday and detected a foul odor.

Evans said investigators had "found some circumstances that have raised some questions" and a search warrant was requested. Texas Rangers arrived before 9 p.m. CT Tuesday with a warrant.

After the search, Evans said that some information provided by the anonymous female tipster about the property was very specific and accurate. He said authorities would attempt to find the tipster and question her.  

The home is at the intersection of County Roads 2049 and 2048 between Hardin and Daisetta. The area is largely rural with a mix of fields and small wooded areas, about 70 miles northeast of Houston.

A neighbor told the Houston Chronicle that the home was that of Joe Bankson. Bankson, reached by the Chronicle in Dallas, told a reporter he didn't know why authorities might be at his home, where he and his wife have lived for three years.

He said he and his wife are long-haul truck drivers and are en route to Georgia.

"I haven't killed anybody," he told the Chronicle. "And I have a lot of friends, but I haven't helped anybody bury any bodies."

NBC station KPRC reported that a neighbor said truck drivers who traveled across the country often stayed in the house on the property with the owner's 16-year-old daughter and her 19-year-old fiance. Their names were not immediately released.

It wasn't clear if Bankson owned the home or rented it.

The neighbor said that the 16-year-old moved out of the home on Sunday and that the neighbor never saw anything suspicious.

An FBI official says an evidence response team has been put on standby in case its needed, according to NBC News.

This report contains reporting from staff, The Associated Press and NBC News.