Perhaps you saw the story: At 8 a.m. Monday, a Dallas Area Rapid Transit bus driver noticed a body lying along the Clark Street sidewalk just beneath the overpass where North Central Expressway becomes the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The body was eventually identified as that of 24-year-old Baxter Odom, whose family owns Odom's BBQ and whose father is a Dallas police officer in the traffic enforcement division. Dallas police, working with the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office, know when Odom died -- between 2:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Monday -- but they're not sure how.
This much and only this much is certain: Odom died of blunt force trauma. Investigators believe Odom, who owns a motorcycle, "was propelled over" Woodall Rodgers after he hit the wall while speeding around the curve. Perhaps, they say, he was racing someone else. Or maybe he was all alone. Maybe someone stuck him with a car. Maybe he fell out of the back of a pickup truck. A lot of maybes. Nothing certain, except for the dead body and a family "in need of closure," says one officer.
DPD's not sure of much because investigators haven't found the motorcycle they know Odom owned. Which is why DPD today put out what's called a "Public's Help Needed" press release and held a news conference requesting someone, anyone, come forward with more information. "It's baffling," says Senior Corporal Kevin Janse, DPD spokesman.
Initially, DPD was investigating Odom's death as a homicide; police thought he'd been beaten and dumped beneath the freeway. But the injuries aren't consistent with an assault, says Janse, and Odom's death has now been classified as "a motor vehicle accident" based on what evidence police have been able to gather.
"It's possible he went off the overpass and the cycle went for another quarter mile," Janse says. "It happened two years ago on I-30 -- they found a cycle, but the body was almost half a mile away. We want someone to say, 'I saw what happened,' because we don't know. We want somebody who was in the area, someone who saw a motorcycle being loaded onto the back of a truck -- anything. We need to know what happened." Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Vehicle Crimes Unit at 214-670-5817.