Bastrop Co. Sheriff dicusses burned body found

We have new about a burned body found dumped on the side of a road in Bastrop County last week. FOX 7 spoke one-on-one with the sheriff who says they're working with other counties on this investigation. 

The victim has been identified as 23-year-old Donald Ray Davis. Although he was found dead in Bastrop County, the sheriff believes the crime could have been committed somewhere else. People who live there say regardless, it's a concern. 

"No one wants to see anything like that ever in their life. I can't even imagine it right now," says Stephanie Gonzalez, Bastrop County resident. 

Stephanie Gonzalez lives in Cedar Creek, a small rural community where a body was found burned and dumped on the side of the road. 

"I absolutely think it has a lot to do with the, the drug cartel. I mean this is a thoroughfare between Houston and Austin," says Gonzalez.

The gruesome discovery was made around 6:00 Thursday morning on North Pope Bend Road. The victim has been identified as 23-year-old Donald Ray Davis, from the Austin area. The Bastrop County Sheriff's Office says the exact cause of death has not been determined but preliminary investigation shows the body was burned after being dumped.  

"We always work the case as a homicide whenever it's an unexplained death. So we work backwards from that, we work toward determining what kind of death it was and so forth," says Sheriff Maurice Cook, Bastrop County Sheriff's Office. 

Sheriff Maurice Cook sat down one-on-one with FOX 7. 

"Do you think residents should be worried?" says reporter. 
"No, I don't," says Sheriff Cook. 

That's because he believes the crime may have been committed in another county. 

"The person is from Travis County. It is on the edge of our county so our leads are tending to go back to Travis County. But, we are following leads wherever they take us," says Sheriff Cook.

This isn't the first time that people living in Bastrop County discover a body on the side of the road. It was a big problem in 2016. At that time, there were eight homicides between September and October in the Del Valle area, a suburb next to where this recent body was found. It terrified the community of around 17,000 people. A crime spree that violent was unusual along the Travis and Bastrop County line. First, four men were found inside a torched home on Linden Road. Then, two decomposed bodies found in a field on Pearce Lane. The next month, a body was found in the trunk of a burning car on Buck Lane. A day later, an eighth body found shot on the side of the road near Wolf Lane and FM 535. Most of the cases were believed to be drug-related. 

"It has a lot more public interest if we say cartel, you know, and I'm just not willing to say cartel unless we actually establish that it is a cartel member or something involved in it," says Sheriff Cook.

The body found Thursday - reignites some fear for those living in the area.  

"As it is, from 2016, my kids aren't allowed to go outside by themselves," says Gonzalez.

But, Sheriff Cook reassures them that they don't believe the public is in any danger.

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