Discovery of human remains in an Oak Cliff yard prompt search for a man missing since April
Evidence shows that Ron Shumway, the Dallas gay man missing since April 24, was not the person who signed documents in June to sell his house in North Oak Cliff. Police became concerned with his disappearance after human remains were found in the yard of the house he owned on North Winnetka Boulevard.
Shumway was last seen on April 23 when he resigned abruptly from his job with DART.
According to text messages posted on his Facebook page and a conversation one person had online with Shumway, he met a “cowboy” in Austin and moved there.
Although he wasn’t seen after that date, the text messages continue through May 10. On April 23, Shumway apparently wrote he was traveling to Austin and later that day he changed his relationship status to “in a relationship.”
“Found me a cowboy and he actually lives on a ranch,” the Facebook post reads. “I’m going to be his Ranch Hand.”
On April 26, a post said Shumway forgot his phone and was back in Dallas, adding “Think I’m moving soon.” Four days later, Shumway apparently texted that he was living in Austin.
A May 8 post said he was back in Dallas to pick up some things. The last post came on May 10, talking about building a “coi pond” on the ranch near Lake Austin.
Neighbors told other news media they were surprised Shumway left without saying goodbye. Some had been his neighbor for years and they spent holidays together.
Others said he had been occasionally disruptive in the neighborhood. Police said they made a dozen visits to his home for disturbances, residential burglaries and crisis intervention. The disturbances were more noise related, but burglaries would have involved break-ins when he wasn’t home. Police didn’t specify why the crisis intervention team was called.
Someone put Shumway’s house up for sale in May. It sold quickly to Sean Chien, with closing on June 12 with Shumway, or someone posing as Shumway, at the closing to sign documents.
In September, Chien was digging in his yard when he discovered a rib cage wrapped in plastic and embedded in concrete.
Police have been looking for Shumway ever since, considering him a murder suspect.
According to the Oak Cliff Advocate, after police began looking for Shumway and Chien was shown his picture, he said that was not the person at the closing in June.
The Advocate found that someone paid off the $56,000 loan on Shumway’s house the day before the closing. That’s unusual. A loan is usually paid off as part of the closing process.
Considering that information and other information collected by Dallas Voice, rather than being a murder suspect, Shumway may well be a murder victim, instead.
If the body turns out to be Shumway’s, the “cowboy” he met in Austin would be suspect No. 1.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 30, 2015.