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Texas Baker Allegedly Killed ‘Sugar Skull’ Artist, Burnt Body After Instagram Live Interview
Manuel Tellez, the owner of a Dallas bakery connected to the local arts community, conducted a live interview with local artist Anthony Moreno. Then, police allege, he walked him outside to an alley and stabbed him to death.
A baker allegedly stabbed a Texas artist to death and set his body on fire moments after interviewing him on Instagram live about skull-shaped pastries, according to authorities.
Manuel Tellez, 45, has been charged with murder in the deadly knife attack on Anthony Moreno, whose charred remains were found in an alley footsteps near Tellez's business.
Officers found Moreno’s burnt corpse at approximately 9:20 a.m. on April 3 near the 1300 block of Kings Highway, Dallas Police Department said.
Police allege in an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com that the two men had just finished broadcasting an Instagram Live interview about Moreno's Mexican “sugar skull art” — often called calaveras — and Moreno texted his wife around 12:15 a.m. that he was on his way home. Tellez then allegedly walked with Moreno to an alley about two blocks away from his business, the Maroches Bakery, and stabbed him multiple times.
Tellez allegedly then left, changed his clothes and returned to the crime scene just under three hours later, where police say he doused Moreno in gasoline and set the dead man’s body ablaze. Surveillance footage from a gas station, taken around 2:00 a.m., allegedly showed the baker wearing a single white latex glove — similar to one found at the crime scene — surgical mask and hat while filling a portable gas can, charging documents stated. Police say that Tellez's Kia SUV, which has identifiable rust spots on its roof, was on the tape.
A neighbor's surveillance camera allegedly recorded the start of the fire in the alley at 2:58 a.m. Police say that cell phone records showed Tellez at the bakery, the alley and the gas station at each time.
Tellez and Moreno knew each other through the city’s arts community — and also had a mutual “romantic interest” in an unnamed woman, the affidavit stated.
According to Moreno’s family, Tellez shared a link to the slain father’s GoFundMe, which raised more than $13,000 for funeral expenses, in the days following his death.
“OMG I can not believe he shared this!” his wife, Ofelia Moreno, wrote on social media, the Dallas Morning News reported. “He killed my husband and made it seem like everything was normal.”
The 52-year-old artist leaves behind three children and six grandchildren, his family said.
“I forgive the man that took him, unfortunately," his son Tony Moreno told Dallas television station WFAA. "I do pray for the man who took my father’s life.”
The grieving son described his father as a “godly man.”
“He had a way with people,” Tony Moreno added. “He had a way to talk to people and befriend people and spread love."
News of Moreno’s death also shocked Dallas’ tight-knit arts community.
“My heart goes out to the families,” said Ofelia Faz Garza, a poet, who had recently given a reading at Maroches Bakery, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“He was a good motivator,” artist Modesto Aceves also told the newspaper. “He always got your back.”
No additional information was immediately released regarding the active case. Investigators for the Dallas Police Department declined to comment when contacted on Monday afternoon.
Tellez, who had a court date on Friday, is being held at a Dallas County jailhouse, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. His bond was set at $1.5 million.
Tellez’s defense lawyer declined to comment on the allegations against his client when contacted by telephone on Monday afternoon.
“I’m not going to offer any comment at all,” attorney Jeff Lehman told Oxygen.com.