Police arrested a Texas man Monday in connection with a triple homicide after dismembered bodies were found in a burning dumpster in Fort Worth, authorities said.
The suspect, Jason Alan Thornburg, 41, confessed to two other killings, one in Fort Worth and another out of state, Fort Worth police said. The killings were part of a biblical sacrifice, authorities said in court documents cited by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Firefighters made the grisly discovery last week after they put out the fire and then found body parts inside. The dismembered remains of a man and two women were found burned in the dumpster, police said Tuesday. Police initially said a child was among the victims, but they now say that was an incorrect interpretation of the evidence at the time.
Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes praised his detectives, saying it "could have been cold case if not for their diligent efforts."
"This is shocking, it's unsettling, and we knew bringing someone to justice in this case was paramount," he said at a news conference.
Investigators looked at surveillance video near the dumpster and immediately homed in on a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a model between 2005 and 2010, police Sgt. Joe Loughman told reporters.
A search of local records showed 7,000 cars of that make and model and those years, but the name of one registered owner jumped out at detectives, Thornburg's, because he was the prime suspect in another murder this year, Loughman said.
Detectives found Thornburg living at the Mid City Inn in nearby Euless, and surveillance video there showed him "carrying plastic bins with what we believe to be body parts of our victims," Loughman said.
"That subject made multiple trips to and from that location to add additional items to the back of his car," Loughman said.
Police alleged that after detectives picked him up, Thornburg admitted to the triple slaying involving the dumpster, the other murder in which he was under investigation and one more slaying out of state.
Thornburg had been working as an electrician's apprentice.
"He does not have an extensive criminal history. He doesn't have an extensively violent criminal history," Loughman said. "He did not give us any details that would be able to ascertain why somebody would do something like this."
Thornburg was being held in lieu of $1 million bail. Tarrant County jail records did not show whether he had hired an attorney yet.