Ongoing coverage – the murder of Celestino Rodriguez

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Missing man case started with a plan to steal his government check

LUBBOCK, Texas — Celestino H. Rodriguez, 79, was last seen on August 3 at 10:00 a.m. His body was found on August 15 in Southern Hale County.


Look below for a list of related story links.


According to an arrest warrant, Brett Anthony Garza, 33, and Heather Mary Casias, 35, made a plan to rob Rodriguez.

Image of Heather Mary Casias provided by Lubbock Police

The warrant said Casias knew Rodriguez for a few months, and she knew Rodriguez received his government check for the month of August. The plan, according to the warrant, was to rob him of his money and his car.

The warrant said she wanted to “get him (Rodriguez) and get him good.” Garza recruited David Wayne Hampton to help with the robbery.

August 3

Casias then lured Rodriguez to a pre-arranged location, according to the warrant, where Garza and Hampton were waiting.

“Hampton and Garza grabbed Rodriguez once they arrived at the location and assaulted Rodriguez while Casias watched,” the warrant said. “During this assault on Rodriguez, Hampton and Garza realized that Rodriguez was unresponsive and a short time later was no longer alive.”

Brett Garza and David Hampton

Casias, Hampton and Garza moved the body to a secluded location – a cotton field in Western Lubbock County. The warrant lists 8321 County Road 6500 as the location of the crime of murder.

The warrant said they took his wallet, his debit card and his car. Casias knew the PIN number of the debit card and gave it to Hampton and Garza, the warrant said. The card was used within four hours of when Rodriguez was last seen alive.

Approximately August 4

Casias was questioned by law enforcement about the disappearance of Rodriguez. The warrant said she was worried that the body might be found. She and Garza decided to move the body. Garza and James Andrew Anderson loaded the body into a vehicle and drove to Abernathy. Anderson contacted a friend, Freddie Joe Salinas, 39.

Images of James Anderson and Freddie Salinas provided by Lubbock Police

The three then took the body to a secluded location – more specifically, County Road 315 and County Road K in Hale County.

August 5

Slaton Police issued a Silver Alert for Rodriguez. According to the alert, officials said Rodriguez was diagnosed with a cognitive impairment. The alert also included a description of his 2014 Chrysler 200.

August 7

At about 5:00 p.m., a Milam County Sheriff’s Deputy located the vehicle in a wooded area. A shoe and a cane were located in the vehicle, but at that point law enforcement did not yet know what happened to Rodriguez.

August 8

Milam County deputies were asked to check a man walking along the side of a road. They found Toby Daughtry, according to the warrant. He wanted to talk to them about a stolen car. That led officers to Amanda Blagburn and David Hampton.

Daughtry claimed he got the car from Hampton in Lubbock. Blagburn told officers she got a message from Hampton to get rid of the car. Hampton told her that the car was involved in something bad.

Blagburn told officers she wiped down the inside of the car to remove fingerprints.

Images of Blagburn and Daughtry provided by Lubbock Police

August 9

Police named Garza and Hampton publicly as “persons of interest.” Criminal charges were not yet publicly announced against the two.

August 10

Felony warrants were announced publicly by LPD for Garza and Hampton. Both were charged with debit card abuse.

Police announced the Kerby and Wade Law Offices in Lubbock offered a $1,500 reward in in addition to a Crime Line reward for a $2,000 total in the case.

August 13

Police released an image of a man seen using Rodriguez’s debit card. Police said the card was used on August 4 at a store in the 5000 block of 34th Street.

August 14

Toby Daughtry was taken into custody around 1:30 p.m. in the 4900 block of 8th Street in Lubbock for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Police announced the arrest of Blagburn in the early evening. Later, Brett Garza was arrested at a residence in the 3000 block of 49th Street at about 10:00 pm.

August 15

Hampton turned himself in and was arrested in Abilene for credit card abuse. He would later be charged with murder.

Garza was arrested for credit card abuse. He also would later be charged with murder. According to the warrant, he agreed to lead investigators to the location of the body. The body was found that night at about 10:45 p.m.

August 16

Police announced in the morning that a body was found in Hale County. Later, police said in the afternoon that it was positively identified as Rodriguez.

August 17

Police announced that an arrest warrant was issued for Heather Casias and asked for the public’s help to find her.

August 19

An arrest warrant was made public which provided new details to the public.

Salinas was located and arrested. Police announced Anderson was already in custody in Hale County for an unrelated charge. Casias, the only wanted suspect left, was located early in the evening and arrested.

A map of all the relationships and connections, by Samantha Jarpe.
Open the image in a new tab to see a high definition version.

The following are story links to ongoing coverage on EverythingLubbock.com

CPS takes custody of child from woman charged with murder of Celestino Rodriguez – August 21

LPD says Heather Casias arrested – August 19

Police arrest man wanted in connection with Rodriguez murder – August 19

Two more arrest warrants issued in connection to the death of Celestino Rodriguez – August 19

LPD asking for public’s help to locate Heather Casias – August 17

Body of Celestino Rodriguez positively identified – August 16

Brett Garza arrested in Central Lubbock Thursday night in connection with Celestino Rodriguez case – August 15

Hampton arrested, related to missing man – August 15

Missing man, age 79, was beat up and left in a field, new court records reveal – August 15

Second person arrested in connection with the disappearance of Celestino Rodriguez – August 14

LPD arrests a suspect related to disappearance of Slaton man – August 14

Police now seeking one more individual as person of interest in Celestino Rodriguez case – August 13

LPD: Felony arrest warrants issued in connection with the disappearance of Celestino Rodriguez – August 10

Lubbock Police name ‘persons of interest’ in missing Slaton man case – August 9

Silver Alert called off for missing elderly man after his vehicle was located in Temple – August 8

Silver Alert for missing Slaton man, age 79 – August 5

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