When a man in Dallas was getting ready to tackle some remodeling at a vacant home in September, he noticed a smell near some bushes on one side of the property.
The man couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from. He zeroed in on a “cement rectangular structure,” and decided that that’s where the odor was the strongest.
The man started to break the cement, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant. In the cement, he found a plastic bag. And then, as he kept going, he found skeletal remains.
In February, those remains were identified as those of Ronald David Shumway. And later that month, authorities announced that they were searching for another man, identified as Christopher Brian Colbert, who investigators believe pretended to be Shumway and sold the property where the remains were discovered.
Colbert is wanted for allegedly tampering with a governmental record, securing execution of document by deception, and money laundering, according to a news release. He remains at large.
Shumway’s death is being investigated as a homicide, public information officer Sr. Cpl. Monica Cordova told The Post in an email Tuesday. Shumway, who was last seen in April, previously worked as a local transit driver and had lived at the property for more than three decades, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Some of the details surrounding Shumway’s death remain somewhat unclear. There are no warrants issued for the homicide, Cordova wrote, and some information wasn’t being released because the case is still under investigation.
According to the affidavit, Colbert may have been living with Shumway or may have been living nearby with access to his home.
Investigators believe Colbert reached out to a broker to sell the home in May. At the time, he introduced himself as Ronald Shumway, and signed a contract agreeing to sell the house for $145,000, the affidavit states.
The contract was signed with Shumway’s name, not Colbert’s.
A few days later, the broker got an email from Shumway’s account. The email allegedly contained a few questions “about the contract being valid and how fast can the house be sold.” That’s when the home’s price fell to $130,000.
The property closing happened in June, according to the documents. But Colbert (allegedly presenting himself as Shumway), told the escrow officer who was working the closing that he didn’t have his ID. He allegedly signed and initialed all the documents as Shumway and said he would fax a copy of his driver’s license.
“Thanks!” Colbert allegedly wrote, when he faxed a copy of an altered driver’s license. “Nice to meet you.”
A title company later wired more than $100,000 into a bank account, which belonged to Shumway and his deceased mother.
A few months passed and then, in September, the remains were discovered.