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Gruesome murders in Texas shine light on missing Arizona woman after accused serial killer's confession

Fort Worth police arrested 41-year-old Jason Alan Thornburg in connection to three people found dismembered in a dumpster.


Editor's note: Some details in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to readers. 

A gruesome discovery in Fort Worth, Texas is shining a light on the 2017 missing person case of then 36-year-old Tanya Begay.  

On Sept. 22, Fort Worth police found the dismembered bodies of three people in a dumpster that was on set on fire outside of a motel in the Western Hills area.  

Fort Worth homicide detectives said they were able to identify 41-year-old Jason Alan Thornburg and his involvement in the shocking discovery based on a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was seen in the area of the dumpster. 

Investigators crossed referenced nearly 7,000 vehicles in the area and recognized Thornburg's name - which was already familiar to detectives because he was a person of interest in a suspicious death investigation in the same area in May of this year. 

Thornburg was listed as a Jeep owner, according to police. 

Suspected serial kill's ties to Pima County 

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Thornburg was convicted in a vehicle theft case in Pima County in 2015 and sentenced to nine months in jail before he parole in February 2016. 

Killing in the name of God

According to a Fort Worth Police warrant of arrest, Thornburg confessed to killing and dismembering the three people found inside the dumpster. He told detectives he had an in-depth knowledge of the Bible and was being called to commit human sacrifices.  

The victims inside the dumpster  

The reports said Thornburg confessed to killing 42-year-old David Lueras. Luaras was allegedly staying with him in his hotel room and he believed Luaras needed to be sacrificed. 

The report said Thornburg cut Lueras throat and then dismembered him in the bathtub. He then kept the body parts in Rubbermaid tubs.  

The second and third victims were both women.  

Thornburg told detectives a woman showed up to his motel room two days after he killed Luaras. He killed her in the same way before repeating the process on another woman who showed up at his apartment two days after he murdered the second victim.  

RELATED: Man arrested in Texas for 3 murders says he also killed his girlfriend in Arizona

Confessions of more sacrifices

Detectives asked Thornburg if he was involved in other sacrifices. He told them he killed his former roommate 61-year-old Mark Jewell and then burned down the house.  

He also confessed to sacrificing his girlfriend in Arizona. 

RELATED: Texas murder suspect told police he killed his girlfriend in Arizona

Who is Tanya Begay?

The woman's name was redacted in Thornburg's arrest warrant but Thornburg's name is tied to the 2017 disappearance of then 36-year-old Tanya Begay.  

According to the report, Tanya's mother Theresa Begay told police in Gallup, New Mexico that her daughter was missing and was last seen on March 2, 2017, at her aunt's home. 

Theresa Begay told Gallup detectives that Tanya and her boyfriend Jason Thornburg stole her car and that Thornburg abused her daughter.  

Theresa Begay told detectives that Thornburg sometimes lived in Dilkon, Arizona with his family. She also said that she contacted Dilkon law enforcement and was told Thornburg's family told investigators he went to his mother's house to retrieve some items and was alone. 

According to the missing person report, Dilkon police said Thornburg left his mother's house in the same vehicle that was reported stolen.  

The Gallup police report also noted that, at the time, Thornburg had a warrant for his arrest for aggravated battery of a household member.  

Where is Tanya Begay?

Gallup police told 12 News that they recently received a call from Fort Worth investigators about Tanya's disappearance and still consider her missing.  

The FBI told 12 News that the bureau and Gallup Police Department continue to seek information regarding the disappearance of Tanya Begay and ask anyone with information to contact FBI Phoenix at 623-466-1999.  

Tips can also be reported to tips.fbi.gov. 

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