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After 5 years on the run, man accused of killing his girlfriend, cutting her body up with chainsaw arrested

Investigators said they believe Erik Arceneaux killed his girlfriend in 2018 and then dismembered her body with a chainsaw.

HOUSTON — Erik Arceneaux has been wanted since 2019 when he was charged with murder in connection with his missing girlfriend's death. He has now been arrested.

Arceneaux, 51, is accused of killing his girlfriend at the time, 29-year-old Maria Jimenez-Rodriguez in June of 2018. After killing her, authorities said Arceneaux cut up her body with a chainsaw and disposed of the pieces in trash bags.

Arceneaux appeared in court for the first time early Friday morning. In court, the judge determined he is indigent.

Police said on Thursday members of the U.S. Marshals’ Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force arrested Arceneaux outside a business on Rowlett Road near the Gulf Freeway.

In court, the prosecutor read some of the evidence in the case out loud. They said crime scene technicians found blood on the walls and ceiling of Arceneaux’s bedroom.

He was also reportedly caught on surveillance video at Home Depot buying a chainsaw.

Over the years, the family members of Rodriguez have waited and waited for closure. Her body still hasn’t been found.

Even so, police said they still feel like they have enough evidence to charge Arceneaux with her murder. He’s now being held on $250,000 bond.

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What happened

Jimenez-Rodriguez was reported missing by her sister when she didn't show up for work or pick up her daughter from the babysitter. Her sister tracked Jimenez-Rodriguez's SUV to Port Street, but it had been abandoned. That's when she filed a missing person report.

Arceneaux, who was 47 when investigators think he killed and dismembered Jimenez-Rodriguez, told investigators at the time that he was supposed to pick her up from a job interview on June 21, 2018, but she wasn't there. He told police that she texted him and said she wasn't able to make it. He told detectives that the last time he saw her was June 20, 2018.

Investigators talked to Arceneaux's daughter, who said on June 22, 2018, her father called her 11 times, which she said was unusual. She said he was scared and thought he did something bad to Jimenez-Rodriguez. Arceneaux's daughter told authorities that she had been told that her father beat her mother. She also said she thought Jimenez-Rodriguez was trying to break up with her father because her family was upset that she was in a relationship with a Black man.

On July 23, 2018, about a month after Jimenez-Rodriguez was last seen, police got a search warrant for Arceneaux and Jimenez-Rodriguez's phone records. Investigators tracked them and determined that the phones were together near Arceneaux's home on June 21 and remained there for several hours.

The phones were also tracked to a nearby Home Depot on June 21, 2018. Authorities got surveillance video from the store that showed Arceneaux buying a chainsaw and trash bags. Jimenez-Rodriguez, however, wasn't seen at the store.

Authorities think Arceneaux used the chainsaw to dismember her body and used the trash bags to get rid of the pieces.

After getting a search warrant, investigators said they found blood on the walls and ceiling of Arceneaux's house.

Jimenez-Rodriguez's body has not been found.

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