Dead bodies recovered after severed head found on dirt trail

Police are searching for a violent suspect after two bodies were discovered in a shallow grave in his backyard

  • Hector Acosta-Ojeda, 28. Wanted in connection with two murders in Arlington
    Police are actively searching for Hector Acosta-Ojeda, 28. He's wanted in a double homicide.
  • Mariano Sanchez-Pina, 18
    Mariano Sanchez-Pina, 18, was arrested and has been charged with murder for being an active participant.
The Arlington V...

Police are searching for an “extremely dangerous” suspect involved in a double homicide near Central Arlington.

Hector Acosta-Ojeda, 28, is wanted by police for the grisly murder of a man nicknamed “Diablo.” It’s also believed he murdered Diablo’s 17-year-old girlfriend. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has not officially identified the victims.

Both victims were buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of Acosta-Ojeda’s residence in the 200 block of Burton Drive.

Police became aware of the murders on Sept. 2, when a citizen walking on a dirt trail in the 400 block of Truman Street discovered a severed human head, believed to be that of Diablo.

Next to the head was a sign written in Spanish, which loosely translates to “respect the Hispanic race; someone missing; slacker.”

As police were investigating the discovery, 18-year-old Mariano Sanchez-Pina, who lives in a nearby apartment, approached detectives and informed them he had more information on Diablo’s death. He was arrested for an outstanding warrant out of Tarrant County for burglary.

The day prior, Acosta-Ojeda and Diablo came to Sanchez-Pina’s residence. Acosta-Ojeda had previously accused Sanchez-Pina of stealing money from him, and had threatened to kill him on multiple occasions. Because of this, Sanchez-Pina did not open the door, and the men soon left.

Later that day, he received a call from Acosta-Ojeda instructing him to come to his residence at Burton Drive.

On arrival, the 18-year-old opened the front door and, while standing outside on the front porch, proceeded to converse with Diablo, who was standing inside. While talking, Acosta-Ojeda allegedly walked up behind Diablo and struck him in the head with a machete. The machete was later recovered by police while executing a search warrant.

Sanchez-Pina immediately fled the location, only to receive another call from Acosta-Ojeda a short while later demanding he return to the residence or he would be killed.

Sanchez-Pina returned to the residence and was instructed to go to the backyard, where he found Acosta-Ojeda digging a large hole. Several other persons were in the backyard watching. Acosta-Ojeda told the 18-year-old that “he wanted him to see how they handled things.”

Sanchez-Pina was reportedly tied up and forced to watch as a victim was stabbed to death. He was later allegedly forced to cut off the arms of one of the victims.

In a past conversation with Sanchez-Pina, Acosta-Ojeda had accused Diablo of stealing money from him. Video evidence later provided to police by a witness showed a conversation between Sanchez-Pina and a male suspect the witness didn’t know.

In that conversation, the topic of Diablo burglarizing Sanchez-Pina’s home was discussed. After the unknown male left, Sanchez-Pina told the witness that he had to leave because the unknown male was going to kill somebody and he was going to record it.

After the killings, Sanchez-Pina called a female witness and requested to meet with her during a dinner break at her job. He showed the witness photos of the murder scene he had taken with his cell phone, and then gave the phone to the witness. She later turned it over to police.

According to a police spokesperson, they believe Sanchez-Pina played an “active” role in the killings, even though it’s believed Acosta-Ojeda committed the acts.

“Investigators believe that the victims were specifically targeted in this offense and this was not a random incident,” a release stated. “Homicide detectives have not ruled out the possibility that the killings may be drug-related.”

A mugshot of Acosta-Ojeda from an arrest on July 20 is being shared in hopes of locating him. He had been arrested on a marijuana possession charge and had later bonded out.

He is described as approximately 5’08” tall and 190 pounds. He’s considered to be armed and extremely dangerous.

Anyone with information related to Acosta-Ojeda’s whereabouts should contact the Department’s tip line at 817-575-8823. Anonymous tips may also be submitted through Tarrant County Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.