March 25, 2014

Blood found throughout Bedford apartment where pregnant woman was killed, police say

Authorities arrested Robert Atlas of Bedford, who was found asleep in a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot near Shreveport, police say.

Tracy Anderson, who was about seven months pregnant, fought for her life in her Bedford apartment during the weekend, crawling from her bathroom to her bedroom before she died, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram late Tuesday.

Robert Atlas, her live-in boyfriend and the suspect in her slaying, was arrested about 2 a.m. Tuesday near Shreveport. Authorities found him asleep in his 2011 Dodge Charger in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Bedford police Lt. David Smith said.

Atlas, 26, was in the Caddo Parish Jail in Shreveport on Tuesday night, awaiting extradition.

A capital murder warrant was issued for Atlas hours after Anderson’s body was found Sunday afternoon in the bedroom of the couple’s Bedford apartment in the 2500 block of Central Park Boulevard.

She had “multiple stab and cut wounds,” the Tarrant County medical examiner reported.

The six-page affidavit gave this brief account of the case against Atlas:

Police went to the apartment after Anderson’s mother reported that she had not heard from her daughter since Friday.

Officers found drops of blood leading from the ground floor of the apartment building to the third floor where the couple lived. They saw that a door frame was damaged as if someone had used force to enter the apartment, and dried blood was found in the bathroom and dining room. Blood smears were discovered on walls, cabinets and floors. A bathroom door was pulled from the hinges.

A cellphone with blood on it was plugged into a charger, but the charger was unplugged from the wall. Investigators noted that it looked as if Anderson crawled to the phone, handled it, pulled it from the wall, then dropped it.

A large silver serrated knife covered in dried blood was on the living room floor.

The east bedroom closet contained women’s clothing and appeared to be used only by Anderson. No blood was found in the west bedroom, which appeared to belong to Atlas.

Anderson had defensive wounds on both hands, and she had stab wounds in her chin and in the center of her stomach.

People interviewed by police said the couple had been dating for about a year and had been under stress because of the pregnancy.

Atlas and a friend went drinking late Friday at a Fort Worth bar and Anderson showed up, friends told police. Anderson confronted Atlas at the bar, and she was angry when she left, the friend told police. Atlas was supposed to pick up the friend Saturday, but he never heard from Atlas, he told police.

Atlas told friends that if Anderson locked him out of their apartment one more time, he would kick the door in, the affidavit stated.

Atlas did not show up for his Fort Worth job Friday or Saturday, according to the affidavit.

Atlas and Anderson had a troubled relationship, according to his mother and court records.

“He is not a thug,” his mother, Brenda Atlas of Chattanooga, Tenn., said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “He is not a monster. He loved her.”

She said she last talked to her son Thursday.

“He was doing fine,” she said. “We texted each other all the time. On Friday, he talked to his sister and told her how much he loved Tracy.”

But Brenda Atlas also said the couple, who had dated for about two months last year before she became pregnant, had problems.

“He had said she’s the one, but friends told me that she made life miserable for him,” Brenda Atlas said. “He got her pregnant, so he was going to do the right thing and be with her.”

The couple signed a lease for the Bedford apartment and began living there about three weeks ago. Police had made no calls to the apartment until Sunday.

But in February, Anderson was charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member, according to Tarrant County criminal court records. She was accused of striking Atlas with her hand and injuring him in an incident that occurred in the 5800 block of Sandshell Circle West in Fort Worth. The case was dismissed Tuesday because Anderson was killed, records show.

Court records also show that Atlas was a suspect in a domestic violence case in January 2011. That incident involved a former girlfriend, according to court records and North Richland Hills police reports. She asked him to turn down some music, they started fighting, and Atlas pinned the woman down and choked her before letting her go, according to a police report.

He was placed on three months’ probation with deferred adjudication. The case was dismissed in January 2012 after he completed probation, according to records.

On her Facebook page on Oct. 3, Anderson wrote: “Robert Atlas and I are super excited and expecting our first baby.” Anderson said her due date was May 16.

Atlas may have told his mother that he loved Anderson, but another relative told police a different story.

“Robert does not want to be in a relationship with Tracy any longer,” his sister, Felicia Atlas, told investigators, according to the affidavit

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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