GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – A suspected serial killer arrested in Texas may be connected to the disappearance of a New Mexico woman. Tanya Begay was last seen in 2017 in the Gallup area with her boyfriend, Jason Thornburg. Thornburg is now accused of murdering at least four people in Texas. Four years after Begay’s disappearance, Thornburg has reportedly told Texas investigators he killed her.
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It’s been four years but local missing and murdered indigenous women groups have never given up searching for Tanya Begay. Keeping her case active on social media. Gallup Police said in 2017, Begay’s mother called them to report her missing.
According to the Charley Project, which profiles cold cases of missing people online, Begay was last seen leaving her aunt’s house in Tohatchi on the Navajo Nation with her boyfriend, Jason Thornburg. The mother of two was never heard from again. The car the couple was driving was later found abandoned. The Charley Project says Thornburg was questioned and released even though Begay’s family said there was a history of domestic violence between the two.
“I’m hoping that with this broadcast that this gets out nationally and internationally,” said a Fort Worth investigator. “I don’t know if he has any international ties like the initial story did and if there are any investigations ongoing in other jurisdictions they will reach out to us.”
Begay’s case is now back in the spotlight after Thornburg was arrested in Texas on Monday in connection to a series of killings. A warrant for his arrest from Fort Worth Police said he told investigators he has an “in-depth knowledge of the bible and believed that he was being called to commit sacrifices.”
Thornburg told investigators he killed three people in his motel room by cutting their throats, strangling one to death, dismembering their bodies and then later dumping their bodies in a dumpster and setting that on fire.
“This was shocking, it’s unsettling, and we knew bringing someone to justice, in this case, was paramount,” said another Fort Worth investigator. Investigators asked Thornburg if he made any other sacrificial killings. He said he sacrificed the body of his girlfriend in Arizona. The name of the girlfriend is redacted in the warrant but said she is an American Indian female reported missing. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Begay’s relatives identified her as that victim.
KRQE News 13 reached out to several law enforcement agencies for confirmation that Begay is one of Thornburg’s alleged victims but did not hear back. News 13 also reached out to Begay’s family members and also did not hear back. Begay’s body has still not been found.