HARDIN, Texas – Deputies who swarmed a rural Texas neighborhood Tuesday to search a farmhouse where a person claiming to be a psychic told officials multiple bodies were buried found no evidence of even a single homicide, a sheriff's official says.
Liberty County Sheriff's Capt. Rex Evans said there was no indication of bodies being anywhere on the property about 70 miles northeast of Houston. Officials ended their search Tuesday night and went home, with the focus of the investigation now turning to the tipster who led local law enforcement and FBI agents to the home.
The sheriff's office had received two calls from the person, officials said. Evans said authorities took the tip seriously in part because the caller had details about the interior of the house that only someone who had seen it could have known.
He said authorities were working to track down the tipster and determine how she had such detailed information on the house. He said authorities had a name and number for the woman.
Asked if authorities thought the tip was a hoax, Evans said only that they found no bodies or anything to indicate a homicide had occurred there.
"We are going to continue our investigation and find out how this individual had this information in the first place," Evans said.
He said no decision would be made on charges until the caller could be questioned and the district attorney consulted.
The investigation began after the sheriff's office received a tip from a psychic who claimed that many bodies, including those of children, were at the home, said Liberty County Judge Craig McNair, the county's top elected official.
A quick search Monday night turned up nothing, authorities said. But the tipster called back Tuesday morning to say deputies had the wrong house, Evans said.
McNair said deputies found blood on a back door and detected a foul odor coming from the house, leading to the search warrant.
"We have to take tips like this very seriously," McNair said.
McNair said the owners of the home are apparently long-haul truck drivers and that there was apparently an attempted suicide at the house a couple of weeks ago that could have explained the blood on the door.
Truck driver Joe Bankson, told The Houston Chronicle that he had his family had lived at the house for three years and he had no idea why the tipster would have called police. He also said his daughter's former boyfriend who had tried to cut his wrists a couple of weeks ago, which could explain the blood.
"I haven't killed anybody," said Bankston, 44, who was reached by the newspaper while on the road in Dallas. "And I have a lot of friends, but I haven't helped anybody bury any bodies."