Austin police on Wednesday filed an arrest warrant in a homicide investigation that had gone unsolved since 2016.
Vinton June Fontenot, 35, faces a charge of murder in connection with the death of Tyler Benjamin Athey, 23.
was taken into custody on unrelated charges in Galveston County on
April 17, according to jail records. He was charged with assault on a
peace officer and evading arrest, and he remains in jail on a combined
bail of $170,862.60, not counting the new murder charge. It’s unclear
when Fontenot will be extradited to Travis County.
Police said Athey was found dead
by an Austin school district bus driver who spotted his body on the
side of the road in the 1400 block of Meander Drive in East Austin on
Nov. 9, 2016. But it took nearly two years before detectives got the
break in the case they needed to make an arrest.
During the course
of the investigation, officers learned that Athey had been involved in
drug dealing with an unknown man on the night of his death, an arrest
affidavit filed Wednesday says. A friend of Athey’s and a woman gave
investigators details about the other man and where the two had been,
but could not name him.
Witnesses reported seeing Athey with the
man in a white car at the Paradise Oaks Apartments off East Riverside
Drive fewer than 12 hours before his body was found, according to the
In March 2018, however, police received a tip from a woman who said
Fontenot had confessed to the killing. The woman first told police that
Fontenot said he killed a man called “Flaco,” and that the man didn’t
deserve it because he had a baby on the way.
At the time of Athey’s death, his girlfriend was pregnant, the affidavit says.
the next two months, the woman called police at least two more times to
provide more information. According to the report, she said Fontenot
told her that he slit Athey’s throat from ear to ear, and that he used a
fish filet knife he had purchased at Walmart. Those two details had
never been released to the public, the affidavit says. Fontenot also
told the woman he torched a car, which was later recovered in Houston,
to get rid of evidence.
Police said detectives believe more than one person was involved in the killing and are still investigating.