CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — A man accused of tampering with and disposing of the body of his longtime partner has been arrested.
According to the arrest warrant, police believe Cedar Park resident Samuel Roy Byrd, 30, helped get rid of the body of Amanda Elizabeth Gordon, 30, who he had dated for eight or nine years and had two children with.
Police were first alerted about Amanda’s disappearance on Dec. 12, when her mom reported that she hadn’t seen or been able to contact her daughter for three days, which she said was unusual.
She also told police that her daughter’s relationship with Byrd was volatile and that he had been “physically, verbally and emotionally abusive throughout the relationship.”
After several unsuccessful attempts to contact Amanda, police conducted an emergency cell phone ping on her phone — determining that Amanda’s phone hadn’t been used since two days earlier within 500 meters of the home she shared with Byrd.
Officers went to perform a welfare check, where they were met at a window by Byrd. Police say he refused to allow them into the home and that he’d only speak to them through the window.
Byrd reportedly told the officers that Amanda wasn’t there and that he hadn’t seen or spoken to her in three days. Officers say he told them her car wasn’t at the house, but that she didn’t have it and he was unsure who did.
Through the open window, officers saw two young children and another man.
At this time, officers say they observed that Byrd’s behavior was “concerning” and they believed he was “under the influence of a CNS stimulant” — which they say was dangerous to the children.
The officers forced their way into the home to check on the children and Amanda Gordon, but the children’s mother was not found.
Police talked to the other man, identified as Byrd’s family member, who said Byrd told him that he and Amanda had been using drugs, that he passed out and when he woke up, Amanda was on the floor dead.
The family member added that he and Byrd had done a lot of cleaning at the house over the past few days. Additionally, officers say he told them that Byrd’s girlfriend was the one who had Amanda’s vehicle.
At this time a search warrant for the home was obtained and a search began.
During the search, officers say a K-9 unit dog alerted them to several points in the backyard, near a large shed.
Officers say the shed appeared “to have a fresh dark brown varnish applied unevenly to the flooring, the substance had a strong odor and was wet to the touch in some places.”
Forensics was then used to detect whether there was any blood present — the tests inside the home and in and around the shed were positive.
A Texas Ranger advised police that a large presence of blood had been in the shed, including on the floor, the walls, items, entryway and steps.
The home’s bedroom and bathroom also tested positive for the presence of blood, according to the affidavit.
Meanwhile, officers were able to find Byrd’s girlfriend who was said to have Amanda’s vehicle. Officers say she said Byrd told her to go buy cleaning supplies — including bleach and ammonia — the day before. She reportedly said Byrd told her to hide a bag he had left in the car that contained various items.
The woman led detectives to the bag. Inside, officers found a .45 caliber Springfield 1911 handgun, a spent .45 caliber shell casing, Amanda’s eyeglasses and her phone.
Officers talked to neighbors, one of whom said Byrd wasn’t known to put out trash at the side of the road, but on that day, he had put two full trash cans and six loose bags of trash on the street for waste collection.
Byrd was arrested on Dec. 13 and charged with the second-degree felony offense of tampering with physical evidence, a corpse, in addition to a charge for possession of an oxycodone pill.
A defense attorney and former judge who’s not involved with this case shed light on why Samuel Byrd is only charged with tampering with evidence and drug charges.
“In a lot of cases, tampering with evidence is used as an initial charge to have the individual arrested and hailed while further investigation continues,” said Charlie Baird. “This is as it relates to the cause of death of that individual if in fact that individual has in fact died.”
Samuel Byrd remains in custody, while police still search for Amanda Gordon’s body. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services have also filed a lawsuit against Byrd, seeking the termination for custody of his two children.