Body Found in Backyard of Oak Cliff Home is Former Owner Ron Shumway, Dallas Police Confirm

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Ron Shumway Murder
Photo: NBC 5

We all had our suspicions news broke the news last year about a body found, encased in concrete, in the backyard of 725 N. Winnetka after the home’s sale. After all, the owner, former DART bus driver Ron Shumway, had been missing for some time. It wasn’t until later that Rachel Stone at the Oak Cliff Advocate discovered that the sale occurred after Shumway hadn’t been seen for six months.

Now Dallas Police have confirmed that the body in the backyard is indeed Shumway, and have issued a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Brian Colbert, the 43-year-old who posed as Shumway to Realtors and Chicago Title Company in order to sell Shumway’s home last year.

The home, which Colbert sold for $130,000, was later flipped several times until it was purchased by the investor who discovered the body during renovations.

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Photo: Google Maps

Here’s how it all happened according to the Dallas Morning News:

Colbert contacted a broker in May for an evaluation of  Shumway’s house, according to his arrest warrant. He introduced himself as Shumway and signed a contract with the broker, agreeing to sell the house for $145,000, the warrant states.

Three days after the meeting, Colbert got in touch with the broker using Shumway’s email account and said he wanted to sell quickly, according to the warrant. The asking price was dropped to $130,000.

Christopher Brian Colbert
Christopher Brian Colbert

On June 22, when the escrow officer closing the sale asked Colbert for identification, he reportedly told her didn’t have his driver’s license with him but would fax it later. Investigators said he signed the closing documents, “Ronald D. Shumway.”

The next day, police said, Colbert faxed over a doctored version of Shumway’s license, one that had Colbert’s photo on it.

“Thanks! Nice to meet you,” he wrote in the fax, according to police.

The title company then wired the proceeds of the home sale, about $110,000, to a bank account that belonged to Shumway and his late mother. Police believe Colbert used Shumway’s debit card to make withdrawals from the account.

There are some big, glaring problems here: Why did the title company allow the transaction to go forward without the proper identification? Is it ever OK for a homeowner to fax a copy of their ID instead of presenting it for inspection? Who’s liable since the sale is fraudulent? And who actually owns the home?

Police sources told NBC5 someone forged Shumway’s signature in late June on a legal document authorizing the sale of his house in the 700 block of North Winnetka Avenue.

Tax records show the home was bought by an investment company in June, then sold to a real estate investment company in August.

Shumway’s signature appears on the June 22 deed authorizing the sale, almost two months after he was last seen. The deed was notarized by a licensed notary with an office in North Dallas, NBC5 reported.

The notary first told NBC5 she didn’t recall meeting Shumway but later said she had no comment.

We’ve reached out to a few title experts to get the facts. Stay tuned.

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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Comments

  1. Dawn says

    I’ve been a Realtor in Dallas for 12 years and I’ve never been to a closing where the title company didn’t make a photo copy of their drivers license/ID/Passport at the closing table. Title company dropped the ball on this one.

  2. Gmit says

    Everyone ! but The title company transferred with policy, so that is one dispute to be ironed out between the title company and the policy issuers…I would imagine the insurance company has some serious questions about the procedures at the title company, notary etc…..

    Wouldn’t that title insurance cover the damages to the (heirs of the deceased) real owners?

    Sounds like a long route to commit fraud…wonder what the relationship was between victim and accused /

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