Two Texas teenagers are accused of running over an elderly woman after her decomposing body was found inside her Houston garage.
Police said they received a call on Friday that a strange smell was coming from inside Clara Jeanne Barna’s garage. When the searched the home, officials found the 75-year-old woman’s body decomposing and her 2003 Buick LeSabre was missing.
A search for the missing vehicle led police to target David Paul Jones and Teijhon “T.J.” Shannon, both 17, who they said took the car while attempting to do a “dine and dash” at a local Denny’s restaurant.
According to police, on June 17 the teenagers were reportedly confronted by owners of stolen pickup truck at the parking lot of a nearby fast food restaurant. After the owners accused the teens of stealing the vehicle, they fled the eatery on foot.
The duo ran through nearby neighborhoods before spotting Barna near her vehicle.
Police said the woman got out to close her garage door when the teenagers approached her, grabbed her and violently took her keys. Shannon reportedly held down Barna while Jones backed out of the driveway, running over Barna and Shannon in the process.
Barna suffered major injuries including a fractured skull and broken back. Shannon suffered injuries to his legs, however, was able to help pull Barna back into the garage before the teenagers fled in her car.
On June 20 – two days before police found Barna’s body – surveillance video showed two males entering a Denny’s restaurant near the woman’s home after parking a similar Buick at the eatery.
Employees told ABC 13 that the teens order about $50 worth of food and then tried to “dine and dash.” The teenagers reportedly asked the manager not to call the cops and tried to bribe him with a cellphone.
Police say the manager wrote down the license plate, which they described as a “valuable clue” in connecting the teenagers to Barna’s death, the Houston Chronicle reported. The newspaper said it’s unclear whether the manager called the cops.
Jones was arrested by police on Saturday, June 23 and Shannon was arrested on Monday. The two teenagers reportedly confessed their roles in Barna’s murder. They were both charged with capital murder.