GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — The body of a Texas woman found in the trunk of a car that crashed in south-central Nebraska during a police chase was the mother of the teenage driver, police have confirmed.
The crash happened Friday along Interstate 80 near Grand Island, shortly after Nebraska authorities were alerted to be on the lookout for a vehicle out of Texas believed to be involved in a possible homicide there, the Nebraska State Patrol said.
A trooper spotted the car minutes later and attempted to stop it, but the driver refused to pull over and a chase ensued reaching speeds of more than 110 mph (177 kph), the patrol said. The car soon crashed, and the 17-year-old driver suffered serious but non-lethal injuries, police said. Police also found the body of a woman in the car’s trunk.
The following day, the patrol identified the woman as 49-year-old Michelle Roenz, of Harris County, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday she is the mother of the 17-year-old boy who was driving the car.
Both Michelle Roenz and her son had been reported missing from their Texas home Thursday by the teen’s father. The father also reported the family car missing. Homicide investigators in Texas responded to the Texas home and, based on evidence collected at the scene, issued a rescue alert for both Michelle Roenz and her son.
Preliminary reports show Michelle Roenz died from strangulation and blunt force trauma, Harris County Deputy Thomas Gilliland said Monday.
Gilliland said Texas authorities are working with Nebraska officials to extradite the teen to Harris County to face a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
“Once investigators interview (the teen), an additional charge of murder is expected,” Gilliland said.
The Associated Press does not typically name juveniles charged with a crime.
No charges against the teen appeared Monday in Nebraska online court records.