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Murder of Casey Tiner and Thomas ‘TJ’ Steele by Robert Earl Buttrey spotlighted on The Lies That Bind

Casey Tiner, Thomas “TJ” Steele, and Robert Earl Buttrey photo
Casey Tiner and Thomas “TJ” Steele were murdered by Robert Earl Buttrey just before they made plans to go on a trip to Las Vegas. Pic credit: Texas Department of Corrections / Family

The murder of Casey Tiner and Thomas “TJ” Steele by Robert Earl Buttrey, who was Tiner’s cousin and Steele’s best friend, is spotlighted in the latest episode of The Lies That Bind on Investigation Discovery.

When Tiner, 16, and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Steele, went missing from Granbury, Texas, on August 7, 2000, family members and friends thought they ran away together to elope in California.

It wasn’t until five years later in December 2005 that they found out that Tiner and Steele were dead. A seismograph crew found their skeletal remains in a field in Somervell County.

Their bodies were transported to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, where their deaths were ruled a homicide.

Buttrey was named a person of interest after police learned he was the last person to see Tiner and Steele before they went missing.

In August 2006, Buttrey was arrested and booked into the Somervell County Jail. He was charged with two counts of murder the following year after a necklace and sword found at the crime scene linked him to the murders.

Police learned through an investigation that on August 10, 2000, Buttrey got into an argument with Tiner and Steele before he killed them with the sword that they gave him for his birthday.

Family members believe the motive for the murders of Tiner and Steele was money.

A year after the killings, investigators found Steele’s car near Comanche Peak with the keys still inside.

In July 2009, Buttrey pled guilty to murdering Tiner and Steele. He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Buttrey initially had to serve half of his prison sentence to be eligible for parole, but it was denied in 2010.

The Lies That Bind — Before Vegas, airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

Angelica N. Sumter is a freelance journalist who has covered true crime for more than 10 years. In addition to Monsters and Critics, her work... read more
Angelica N. Sumter

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