‘Religious sacrifice’ led to murder of three victims found in burning Fort Worth dumpster

Crime & Public Safety

FORT WORTH, Texas (KETK) – An arrest affidavit revealed more details about the man police said killed 3 people, dismembered them and set their bodies on fire in a Fort Worth dumpster.

New Details

The arrest affidavit states that Jason Alan Thornburg, 41-year-old electrician, told police that he has an in-depth knowledge of the Bible and believed that he was called to commit sacrifices.

After his arrest, officials confirmed that Thornburg confessed to the three murders and at least two others. He told police that he killed his girlfriend in Arizona and his Fort Worth roommate.

Detectives said Tuesday that Thornburg was a person of interest in the death of his roommate, Mark Jewell, 61, whose body was found in their burning residence on Valentine Street in May. His cause of death was not determined because of the explosion in the home. Officials said they investigated Thornburg at the time but did not have probable cause for his arrest.

Officials originally believed the victims found in the dumpster included one woman, a child and 42-year-old David Lueras. They later corrected this and said that the two unidentified victims are believed to be adult females. Officials said that they may be close to confirming the women’s identities.

Lueras was identified by several distinctive tattoos. Police say that he had a lengthy criminal record and connections to Dallas County and northeast Tarrant Count. It is not clear how the men knew each other, but they did share a room at the Mid City Inn for several days, possibly until Lueras was killed.

“Mr. Thornburg went into intimate details as to how he committed his crime, which as all of you know I can’t provide those details because this is an ongoing investigation,” Fort Worth police said in a press conference Tuesday.

Video surveillance at the site of the burning dumpster helped officials identify a possible suspect vehicle: a 2005 or 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Law enforcement requested a list of every vehicle fitting that description in the area, which was more than 7,000 vehicles.

Thornburg’s name appeared in the search and his information was familiar to police because of a suspicious death investigation from May 2021. Detectives located Thornburg’s 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee at an Arlington residence and discovered he had been staying at the Mid City Inn in Euless since June 28.

Video surveillance showed that on the night of the fire and dumping of the bodies, a resident of the motel was seen exiting a room carrying plastic bins “with what we believed to be body parts of our victims.” The person in the video made multiple trips to and from the location to add additional items to the back of his car.

Background Information

According to officials, Thornburg was arrested from a motel in Euless Monday night on a charge of capital murder of multiple persons with a $1 million bond.

Three bodies were found by police in Fort Worth after firefighters responded to a report of a fire on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

On Tuesday morning, Fort Worth police were outside of Mid City Inn on the 1400 block of West Euless Boulevard. A source told NBC 5 that Thornburg killed three Fort Worth victims in a Euless motel and used crates to aid in dismembering the bodies.

Authorities said that the slayings in the motel occurred over several days and that the victim’s remains were stored in plastic bags until they were transferred to the containers.

Police said that the time frames of the bins being loaded into the SUV and when they were put in the dumpster in Fort Worth line up.

Fort Worth police waited until Friday to publicly announce the triple murder and seek help from the public.

Sources told NBC 5 that Thornburg had a criminal record and has previously been charged with evading arrest in the city of Rhome in 2018 according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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