Texas Teen Strangled Mom to Death, Then Stashed Body in Trunk and Drove to Nebraska

Tyler Roenz, who was 17 at the time of the killing, pleaded guilty to murder in connection with the 2022 death of his 49-year-old mother Michelle Roenz

Harris County Sheriff
Harris County Sheriff's Office (2) Michelle Roenz and Tyler Roenz

A Texas teenager who strangled his mother to death and drove to Nebraska with her body stashed in the trunk of his family car has agreed to a plea deal, authorities said.

Tyler Roenz, who was 17 at the time of the killing, pleaded guilty to murder in connection with the 2022 death of his 49-year-old mother Michelle Roenz, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced in a press release shared on June 28.

Tyler, now 19, was subsequently sentenced to 40 years in prison and must serve at least half of the prison sentence before he is eligible for parole, according to Ogg.

On Oct. 13, 2022, Tyler killed his mother while the two were at home, authorities said. He then stashed her body in the trunk of the family’s black Mazda and drove north. A relative who arrived at the house after Tyler left called local authorities after they suspected foul play and believed that the mother and son were missing.

Related: A Missing Texas Teen Was Found in Nebraska. Police Found His Dead Mother in Trunk of His Car

Court documents previously obtained by ABC-13 stated that the family member was Tyler’s father, who became concerned after arriving at the Humble, Texas, home to find blood and a human tooth in the garage. His father then followed a trail of blood into the master bedroom, where he reportedly found four additional human teeth in a pool of blood, the outlet reported, citing the documents.

Tyler and Michelle were declared missing by authorities, who then found charges on Michelle’s credit card out of Oklahoma and Kansas, ABC-13 reports.

According to the release, authorities were also able to track down Tyler as he drove through Oklahoma and Kansas using license-plate readers. One day after the murder, he was arrested in Nebraska by a state highway patrol trooper who spotted the car.

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Michelle’s body was then found in the trunk of the car, authorities said. A medical examiner in Nebraska determined that she died from blunt-force trauma to the head and strangulation, per the release.

A motive for the killing has not been shared by authorities.

According to her obituary, Michelle loved caring for animals, enjoyed photography and had completed several half marathons. Her obituary states she was married to her husband for 23 years and shared a daughter with him in addition to her son Tyler.

Tyler also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in exchange for a sentence of 20 years, the release states. The sentences will run concurrently and two other felonies were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

“This is an awful tragedy for this family,” Ogg said in the release. “It was important that this defendant took responsibility for what he did, and now he will spend decades in prison for his actions.”

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