HOUSTON -- The acrid aroma billowing from the two barbecue grills on the balcony of Apartment 224 didn't smell like barbecue. And the black smoke rising from the leaping flames didn't look like a normal cookout.
What, neighbors at the Red Oak Place apartments in Houston wondered, was going on in 27-year-old Timothy Wayne Shepherd's apartment?
The answer turned their stomachs.
According to law enforcement officials, Shepherd had been burning the body of his former girlfriend, Tynesha Stewart. Nothing remains of the 19-year-old Texas A&M University student's body.
At times, neighbors say the flames from the grills leapt dangerously close to the roof of the balcony. They called 9-1-1, but when firefighters arrived, the flames had calmed and Shepherd assured them everything was under control.
Shepherd has since confessed to strangling and dismembering Stewart because he was angry that she had started a new relationship.
He is charged with murder and is being held on $250,000 bond in the Harris County Jail.