Case of dismembered Carlsbad man, 88, remains a mystery

Updated: Wednesday, July 17 2013, 02:07 PM MDT
Case of dismembered Carlsbad man, 88, remains a mystery story image

By: Stephanie Guadian

The body of an elderly Carlsbad, N.M., man was cut into pieces and buried in his own backyard, and even though the police department has leads, no arrests have been made so far.

Thomas Allumbaugh spent much of his time sitting in his white chair in front of his home on Canal Street. That's the last place his neighbors remember seeing the 88-year-old man.

Months went by and there was no sign of him, but it was calls from concerned out-of-state relatives who first led police to the home last December.

"They got some conflicting information at one point in time. There was some indication that he had passed away and they hadn't been notified," Detective Lt. Bryan Burns of the Carlsbad Police Department.

Allumbaugh lived with his wife and adult son, and neither had reported him missing.

Police interviewed both of them, but they will only say information from those interviews prompted police to search the backyard.

Under some rubble, investigators found plastic bags buried beneath the dirt. When investigators opened one of the bags, they made a grisly discovery – Allumbaugh's head was stored in the bag.

"His person was recovered in 11 separate bags. The bottom line: he had been cut up," Burns said.

All of the bags were sent to the office of medical investigators in Albuquerque. Carlsbad police want to know if Allumbaugh died of natural causes or was murdered before he was dismembered.

It is believed that the elderly man was buried for about a year before he was found in December.

Neighbors are still hesitant to talk about the incident that happened just across the street.

The body was so decomposed that it had to be sent to out-of-state experts.

"They have contracted out of Northwestern University to do further analysis through their anthropology department," Burns said.

Depending on what is found, charges could vary from improper burial to fraud or even murder.

"It's forensics, tissue samples, looking at their bones, tool marks. There are a lot of different things they can evaluate and look at," Burns said.

Neighbors said Allumbaugh's wife now lives in a nursing facility, but his son still lives at home.

When KFOX14 went to the home, no one answered the door.

A neighbor who didn't want to be identified said Allumbaugh's son said his father had gone to live with another family member.

However that neighbor said that's a lie.

Nearly six months after police unearthed the mystery, no charges have been filed nor have any arrests been made.

Until that happens, those living on that stretch of Canal Street can't help but notice the empty white chair and wonder what really happened behind closed doors.

Police said they know who dismembered and buried Allumbaugh, but they must wait for a cause of death before deciding on a charge or making an arrest.

Case of dismembered Carlsbad man, 88, remains a mystery
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