A man who admitted digging up a grave and stealing a corpse’s foot in 2010 in Dallas was detained for a psychological evaluation on Christmas Eve after texting a crisis hotline that he intended to kill a woman and dismember her.
Fort Worth police tracked down Daniel Wayne Staley about 11:30 p.m. Dec. 24 after being alerted that he had been texting a crisis hotline that he planned to hit a female in the head with a hammer, load her into his vehicle and take her somewhere to dismember her.
In his messages, Staley, 24, indicated he was near the TCU campus, according to a police report.
Fort Worth police were able to make phone contact with Staley and determine that he was at the Fort Worth apartment of a friend. Officers arrived at the apartment in the 2800 block of McCart Avenue, just east of the TCU campus, and were able to persuade Staley to come outside, said Tracey Knight, a Fort Worth police spokeswoman.
He was detained and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital for a psychological evaluation. Knight said he remained detained as of Monday.
Staley, who has a history of mental illness dating back to when he was a child, was 18 when he was approached by Dallas police officers and showed them a foot he had stolen from a grave. He admitted to investigators that he dug into the grave at a private Jewish cemetery, broke into the wooden coffin and removed the foot from the interred corpse, according to a Dallas police report.
Staley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2010 Dallas case and committed to a state mental hospital.
He was released in April 2013 despite concerns by family members, including his father, Russell Staley, who told WFAA/Channel 8 that he believed it was “a matter of time” before his son killed someone.
After being dropped off at a Fort Worth homeless shelter, Staley was interviewed by WFAA, which asked him about his fascination with corpses.
“I don't know; it's a real fetish of mine, I guess,” Staley told the TV station.
Within a month after his release, Staley was detained by UT-Arlington police after his relatives alerted authorities that he had made strange comments about hurting himself and others. He was located then at a gas station just off the campus.
Knight said Fort Worth police closely monitor Staley.
“We here at the Fort Worth Police Department are aware of him, and detectives, along with Tarrant County MHMR personnel, keep track of him,” Knight said.