Del Valle residents say crime is up

The Travis County Sheriff's Office says despite six people found dead recently in Del Valle, the public isn't in any danger. Some residents, however, think otherwise.

Four bodies found, then another two found three weeks later. Both are unsolved, which means the people behind the crimes are still on the run. So Del Valle grows, so does the crime.

"A lot of it has to do with drugs. It's probably a snitch move," says Del Valle resident. 

Just last week two decomposed bodies were found in a field off Pearce Lane. This left Jaime Melgoza in complete shock, but even more shocking was when he found out one of the victims was actually his friend from Austin.

"It's crazy because he didn't even live out here. It could happen to anybody," says Jaime Melgoza, Del Valle resident.

When it comes to his kids, he's not taking any chances.

"Oh I don't even let them walk to my mom's house, to grandma's house, anymore by themselves. I've got to walk them everywhere now. Just scary," says Melgoza.

Those two deaths have been ruled a homicide but the motive is not yet known.

"Well there was the fire that killed four of my friends," says Del Valle resident.

Three weeks before, the Travis County Sheriff's Office responded to a house fire on Linden Road, which is just a few blocks over. It's believed that four victims were fatally shot before the house burned.

Facts gathered in the investigation are leading to the possibility that buying and selling of narcotics was a key factor that led up to their deaths.

"Well a lot of people just need to know what to say and when to say it. Or who to talk to and who not to talk to," says Del Valle resident.

As of right now, there is no evidence indicating these two crimes are related. The sheriff's office says if they felt the public was in any danger, they would say something. But residents say Del Valle isn't as safe as it was a decade ago.

Other crimes that have been reported in the area over the last two months include: theft, auto theft, cruelty to animals, assault with injury and possession of child pornography.

"I don't really think about it happening to me, and you don't until it happens to you. I think it's really sorry that we have people like that running around in our neighborhood. I think it's real sorry that people would go to that for the last resort," says Carla Adair, Del Valle resident.

All victims have been identified. The two bodies found in a field last week were: 40-year-old Rene Rodriguez, also known as Martin Molina, and 25-year-old Salomon Perez. Both are from Austin.

The four victims from the September 8th house fire were: 26-year-old Matthew Barber of Del Valle, 53-year-old David Braswell, 25-year-old Jacob Derr and 41-year-old Brian Satterfield. The three of them were from Bastrop.

Residents say a lot of people come to the area to dump things - from trash, to furniture, to animals. They say it's hard to get a quick response from authorities since they are on the border of Travis and Bastrop counties.