A quiet, yellow-and-green farmhouse located at the end of a long gravel drive transformed into a site teeming with investigators after sheriff’s deputies discovered a dead woman on the property Wednesday.
“We carried out a search warrant, and our SWAT guys surrounded the home,” said Wise County Sheriff David Walker. “We were able to locate two people inside the home, and a body in the barn behind the house.”
SWAT members located the home’s owner, Mark Schomburg, 51, hiding in the attic with a 15-year-old male.
Both were detained for questioning. Schomburg was subsequently charged with murder. As of Friday afternoon, he remained in Wise County Jail on a $2 million bond.
Captain Kevin Benton said Schomburg did not confess to murder; evidence at the scene led to the charge.
The juvenile was released the following day. His relationship to Schomburg is still unclear at this point, according to investigators, but they do not believe he was involved in the alleged homicide.
Near noon Wednesday, the sheriff’s office acted on a tip that a dead body might be located at a house on County Road 3332. It’s at the intersection with County Road 3325, a mile off Texas 114 between Paradise and Bridgeport.
Investigators soon discovered a gruesome sight inside a metal storage shed behind the home. A narrow, blood-stained trail led from the home to the shed. Inside, the decomposing corpse of a woman was found wrapped in a blue tarp.
A putrid stench hung in the hot air under a glaring sun as crime scene investigators gleaned through details. The Texas Rangers and Bridgeport Police Department’s crime scene investigator assisted with the case. Initially, the body was so decomposed investigators couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman.
The body was sent to Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office for identification and to confirm the cause of death. As of Friday afternoon the woman had been positively identified, but authorities were waiting to release her name until next of kin were notified.
“We do know there was a violent homicide here, but we are still processing all the evidence to find out when and where and how it happened,” Walker said. “There are signs of biological evidence in all three buildings.”
LIVING NEAR DEATH
A husband and wife and their child lived above the garage where investigators found biological evidence related to the alleged murder. The family rented the living area above the detached garage, located in between the two-story home and the shed where the body was discovered.
“They’ve been cooperative in the investigation,” Walker said.
Tim Butler and his 12-year-old recently moved into a home a couple hundred yards away from the crime site. He said it’s a quiet place.
“The only thing I ever hear is the neighbor’s dogs barking at night,” he said.
But news of the possible murder next door has made him cautious. He and his daughter stayed at a friend’s house in Springtown the day the discovery was made.
“I went and got a gun today,” Butler said. “I keep it nearby now. I talked to a woman today about teaching my daughter how to shoot.
“You never think something like this would happen in Paradise or Wise County.”
Butler said he was warned by someone familiar with Schomburg “not to talk to him. There is something wrong with him.”
Besides the family renting the rooms above the garage, Schomburg had people living with him on and off in the main house, investigators said.
It’s believed the victim was living with him at the time of death, and they were probably in some type of relationship. But investigators are still trying to confirm those details.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do yet,” Walker said.
A neighbor noticed a white car with Missouri license plates for sale placed at the end of the driveway in the last week or two. The vehicle was registered to the alleged victim.
According to court records, Schomburg sustained serious head and spine injuries in a traffic accident in 2003. He had an ongoing legal battle with the Social Security administration to keep receiving checks even though an administrative law judge deemed him capable of working again after he had shown improvement by 2006.
According to court documents, Schomburg suffered from severe headaches and vertigo following the accident. Apparently methadone treatments had improved his condition and enabled him to work in certain fields. Methadone is used for severe, chronic pain and to help recovering heroin addicts.
Cynthia S. Schomburg divorced the suspect in November 2009. The couple married in 1999. They shared custody of an 11-year-old son.
Mark Schomburg declined a request to be interviewed from jail for this story.