Human remains found in trunk of missing Fort Worth woman’s car

Posted Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Investigators are trying to determine whether human remains found in the trunk of an abandoned car found Sunday southeast of Waco belong to the car’s 59-year-old Fort Worth owner who has been missing since June 1.

A long-time friend reported Adrian Denise Thornton as missing to Fort Worth police on June 15, according to a police report.

According to Fort Worth police fliers, Thornton was last seen June 1 and was believed to have been driving her white Lincoln Continental Town Car when she disappeared.

Trooper D.L. Wilson, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Fort Worth police contacted him June 16 after Thornton’s purse and identification were found off a state highway in Falls County by a passer-by.

“It had been slightly burned but was still legible,” Wilson said.

At the request of Fort Worth police, Wilson said, he put out pictures of the missing woman, then 58, and her car to the local media there in hopes of identifying someone in the area who may know her, or have information about her location or that of her missing car.

“We didn’t get one phone call and it ran for two days,” Wilson said. “We’re thinking she had no ties to the area.”

On Sunday, Wilson said, Thornton’s car was found in high weeds several hundred yards off County Road 414, located off Texas 7 between Shelton and the Brazos River. The car was just a few miles from where Thornton’s possessions had been found on Texas 7, he said.

“A passer-by was out in the area looking for deer. He’s a local resident,” Wilson said. “He saw a reflection — the sun reflected on something out in the tall grass, in the weeds. He went to investigate and he noticed it was a Lincoln Continental Town Car.”

Wilson said it appeared the car had been intentionally hidden out of sight.

“It had been driven through some weeks and some trees,” he said. “It was pretty much camouflaged.”

The man called the Falls County Sheriff’s Department.

“When they ran the license plate, it came back to Ms. Thornton’s missing car,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that since multiple jurisdictions were involved in the case, Texas Rangers were called to the scene. A quick inspection of the vehicle, Wilson said, revealed blood on the car’s exterior.

The car was impounded and taken to the DPS crime lab in Waco, where the decomposing remains were found inside the car’s trunk, he said.

“They smelled a foul odor, of course, by this time because it was in an enclosed area,” Wilson said. “They ended up popping the trunk and they find a decomposing body in the trunk.”

Wilson said the body has been sent to Dallas County medical examiner’s office, where authorities are trying to positively identity the remains and determine the cause of death. He said Fort Worth police have taken over the investigation.

Fort Worth homicide Sgt. Cheryl Johnson declined to released addition details, saying it is early in the investigation.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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