Police arrest 2 for murder of Nacogdoches man

Erin Belz. Source: Nacogdoches County Jail.
Erin Belz. Source: Nacogdoches County Jail.
Randy Ellinwood. Source: Nacogdoches County Jail.
Randy Ellinwood. Source: Nacogdoches County Jail.

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Police have arrested a man and woman in connection to a murder Monday night.

Erin Leann Belz, 26, and Randy Ellinwood, 31, both of Nacogdoches, are each charged with murder.

According to a press release, officers were called at 11:18 p.m. to a suspicious person call at Nacogdoches Floral Company on North Street. The caller said a man and woman were seen dumping something in a dumpster of the business and leaving in a pickup truck. Officers found items with blood on them and began searching for the suspect truck.

At 1:07 a.m. Tuesday, a patrol officer found the truck in the parking lot of Walgreens, located at North Street and East Austin Street. Officers found the body of a man inside the truck.

A justice of the peace pronounced the man, identified as Gilbert Joseph Thibodeaux, 32, dead at the scene.

The investigation led officers to a residence in the 300 block of Myrtle Street, where officers found evidence of an assault in the driveway.

Officers arrested Belz and Ellinwood. According to Sgt. Greg Sowell, it appears Thibodeaux knew the two and went to the Myrtle Street address, where he was assaulted.

Sowell said it appears the suspects drove Thibododeaux's pickup truck to Walgreens.

Ellinwood has a long criminal history, with convictions for burglary and engaging in organized criminal activity. Belz has no convictions on her record.

Thibodeaux has just a Misdemeanor B theft arrest on his record, from 1999 in Gatesville County.

Matt Pate and Carrie Durrett stood in the shadows of their home located directly across the street from Nacogdoches Floral Company. They said they watched Belz and Ellinwood doing what now appears to be an attempt to hide evidence and the body of Thibodeaux.

"They walked over to the dumpster after they got out of the truck and they threw a piece of pipe and some clothing in the dumpster and poked it down in there with the pipe. After they left the dumpster they..." Pate said.

"They took off walking," Durrett said. "They were going to leave the truck at the flower shop."

"And I said that's private property," Pate said. "I don't think they want ya'll parking there, so they got in their truck and they left and they sped off down the road."

But not so fast that Pate didn't get a good description of the pickup and a partial license plate number.

"About 1 this morning one of our patrol officers located that vehicle parked in Walgreen's parking lot," Sowell said. "He saw the driver's door was open and once looking inside found the body of the victim."

Pate knows what he saw as police dug through the dumpster.

"Blood on the pipe and some blood on the clothing," Pate said.

"Blunt trauma," Sowell said. "Looked like he'd been beat up."

The good Samaritans only learned this morning that the truck they were watching had a body in it.

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