06:51 AM CDT on Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By WENDY HUNDLEY / The Dallas Morning News

Editor's note: This story contains graphic details.

RICHARDSON – Police found a grisly scene Saturday when they responded to a child's 911 call at a northeast Richardson home: the severed head and other body parts of a 20-year-old Dallas woman.

From left to right: Eric Ziegler, James Matisi,
and Timothy Jones are being held in the death
of Ibonne Zamudio.

The dismembered body of Ibonne Zamudio was found in three black trash bags in an upstairs bathroom, according to police documents.

Police on Monday were interviewing the three men arrested at the home – James Matisi, 51, Eric Ziegler, 33, and Timothy Jones, 44 – but said they don't know what led to the brutal slaying.

The suspects – who were being held Monday night in Richardson City Jail on $1 million bail each – had been smoking crack cocaine with the victim on the night of the slaying, according to police reports.

"There's no clear motive why someone would do something like this," Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich said Monday. "Anytime you're dealing with people and drugs, it's hard to say."

Records show that the Richardson Police Department got a 911 call at 9:16 a.m. Saturday from a boy believed to be the 10-year-old son of Mr. Matisi, the owner of the home in the 5700 block of Kensington Drive.

When police arrived, they saw Mr. Jones standing nude on the second-floor landing of the home. He was yelling obscenities at the officers and telling them to leave.

Mr. Jones was apprehended in an upstairs bathroom where police found several trash bags and female clothing. Mr. Matisi and his son were found hiding in the closet of a master bedroom. Mr. Ziegler "acted like he had been sleeping" in an upstairs bedroom, one document stated.

Mr. Jones told detectives he met Mr. Ziegler on Friday night at an apartment complex on Maple Street in Dallas. He said Mr. Ziegler asked him and "a female prostitute" if they wanted to get high with him. Ms. Zamudio has convictions for prostitution and marijuana possession.

Mr. Jones said the three drove around for a while smoking crack. When they arrived at the Richardson home, Mr. Matisi joined them, and they smoked crack together.

He said Mr. Ziegler and Ms. Zamudio left the room several times and were once joined by Mr. Matisi. Mr. Jones said he went into the bathroom and saw Mr. Ziegler with Ms. Zamudio's nude, lifeless body in the bathtub. Her head had been cut off.

Mr. Jones told investigators he saw Mr. Ziegler cut her body. Mr. Jones admitted to police that he tried to cut off the woman's hand and that he stuffed her body parts into trash bags.

At one point, Mr. Matisi stepped into the bathroom doorway "and calmly and coldly told Jones and Ziegler to hurry up and get her body out of his house," according to Mr. Jones.

Mr. Matisi told police a different version of the night's events. He said Mr. Ziegler, his roommate, had brought a female to the house the night before. He said he didn't know the woman but heard an argument during the night and a woman yelling, "No! Stop! Don't do that!"

While he admitted smoking crack cocaine with his guests, Mr. Matisi said Mr. Ziegler came to his bedroom door during the night and said: "I think I broke her leg, but she is still breathing. How can I get her to stop breathing?"

He told police he later heard bathwater running and assumed Ms. Zamudio was dead and being dismembered.

On Sunday, a Richardson detective attended Ms. Zamudio's autopsy. Her hands, scalp, legs, one arm and tattoos had been cut from her body. Her legs were cut in half at the knees, according to a police report.

The Collin County medical examiner had not yet determined the exact cause of death.

Mr. Matisi's son was placed in foster care, where he remained Monday. It is unclear whether the child witnessed the slaying or its aftermath, but Child Protective Services officials said they would have him meet with a therapist. CPS officials are also planning to interview the boy's mother to determine the best placement for him, a spokeswoman said.

Records show that James and Theresa Matisi were married Oct. 7, 1988, and divorced Jan. 29, 2007. Ms. Matisi could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Matisis had lived at the two-story Kensington Drive home – which is in Collin County – for nearly a dozen years. Neighbors said Monday that police had been called to the home to investigate domestic disturbances in the past, including an incident two years ago in which a fearful and bruised Ms. Matisi fled from her husband to a neighbor's house.

Collin County records show that Mr. Matisi was arrested March 7, 2006, and charged with felony assault causing injury to a family member.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 80 days of community service and ordered to attend an anger-management program.

Mr. Ziegler has a lengthy criminal history in Dallas County, mostly on drug-related charges.

It was unclear late Monday whether Mr. Jones has a police record.This was Richardson's second slaying of the year. Daniel Patterson was arrested in the killing of a homeless man during a fight May 19.

Staff writer Scott Goldstein contributed to this story.