A 55-year-old man accused of beating and stabbing his 56-year-old grandmother to death in 1984 was taken to McLennan County Jail on a murder charge late Thursday night, 34 years after the slaying.

Charles Emory Sedigas, of Hubbard, was arrested in Hill County after the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office cold case unit reopened the investigation into the death of Vera Jean Burleson. Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Sedigas beat and stabbed his grandmother to death at a home in Bellmead but was never charged in the case.

“It was very brutal. She was beaten and stabbed multiple times in the face and head,” McNamara said. “It was a very brutal, cold-blooded murder.”

Burleson’s death has remained unsolved since Bellmead police found her dead in her home at 1315 Queens Court on the morning of June 25, 1984. According to Sedigas’ arrest affidavit, Bellmead Police Chief Lydia Alvarado agreed last year to allow the county’s cold case unit to investigate the unsolved homicide.

The affidavit states Burleson was stabbed several times in her head and died as a result of her injuries.

Cold case detectives learned of a “critical witness” who identified Sedigas, also known as “Chuck,” as a suspect, the affidavit states. The witness said Sedigas left his residence and said he was going to his grandmother’s home the day before she was found dead.

“This witness states that Chuck Sedigas returned a few hours later,” according to the affidavit. “The witness states Chuck Sedigas has a large amount of blood on his clothes. When asked by the witness what had happened, Chuck Sedigas replied, ‘I killed grandma. I stabbed her.’”

The witness said Sedigas went to the bathroom then burned something in a barrel at his residence, according to the affidavit.

Sedigas threatened to kill the witness if the witness told anyone of the crime, the affidavit states.

Officials got an arrest warrant Thursday charging Sedigas with murder. The sheriff’s office’s Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team and U.S. marshals arrested Sedigas on Thursday in Hubbard.

He was booked into McLennan County Jail late Thursday evening and remained there Friday with bond listed at $1 million.

McNamara publicly introduced the cold case unit early this year after announcing the selective group of investigators, which also includes a former federal prosecutor and a former FBI agent volunteering their time as consultants, had solved a 17-year-old girl’s 1982 murder in the Axtell area. The man they identified as responsible for the killing had died in 2014.

At the time, officials said the sheriff’s office had 10 cold case files, Bellmead had four unsolved homicides between 1984 and 1999, Hewitt had two cold cases from 1978 and 1996, and Robinson had an unsolved double-homicide from 1989.

“Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to look at these cases to help things come together,” McNamara said. “We are very proud of our cold case unit and their dedication to solving these brutal murders.”

McNamara said Friday that investigators are working on about 20 cold cases.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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