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February 11th, 2010
Evidence found in San Marcos native’s grisly murder

by SEAN KIMMONS

A second search was conducted Monday just southwest of Kyle, resulting in additional evidence tied to the grisly murder of former San Marcos native Michael Van Dyke, police say.

Van Dyke, 23, was reported missing by his mother on Dec. 27. At the time of his disappearance, he was living in Paige, located in Bastrop County, with 24-year-old Dustin Dickman of Paige.

Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office investigators said that there was a falling out over “missing property” among the roommates. Van Dyke also had another argument over undisclosed reasons with 26-year-old Dennis Don Leetch of San Marcos.

Police say that Leetch and Dickman worked together in killing Van Dyke with “blunt force,” using an approximately 6” x 6” block of wood.

“Both of them were active participants in murdering Mr. Van Dyke,” Bastrop Sheriff’s Investigator Arnold Gonzalez said Tuesday.

Leetch and Dickman are currently being held at the Bastrop County Jail on $500,000 bonds each.

During interviews, investigators learned that Van Dyke was initially buried near his home at 321 County Line Road in Paige around Dec. 15. With police hot on their trail, both suspects panicked and transported the body to a wooded area in Hays County.

“They got scared and moved the body,” Gonzalez said. “They also attempted to destroy the body.”

Gonzalez would not go into details of how the body was handled. He did say, however, that the Bastrop Sheriff’s Office executed two search warrants: Feb. 3 at 500 Road Runner Road and Monday at Lupine Trail, both located a few miles from Kyle.

“There were items and evidence recovered at both these locations,” he said, not disclosing what was found.

Van Dyke’s mother, Belinda Van Dyke, of San Marcos, said that the two suspects burned her son’s body and put his ashes in a dumpster.

“We have nothing anymore,” she said. “It’s hard to wrap your brain around on what people are capable of doing to each other.”

At this time, Gonzalez doesn’t foresee additional search warrants or arrests in the case, he said.

Van Dyke graduated from San Marcos High School in 2004 and served in the U.S. Army. Leetch also graduated from SMHS in 2002, police say.

Belinda said that her son and Leetch had been friends since their high school days.

“They were good friends since high school,” she said. “Be sure to pick your friends wisely.”

She also said that her son was a “good kid” who had “a good heart” and she appreciated the Bastrop Sheriff Office’s diligence in uncovering her son’s murder.

A memorial service for Van Dyke is slated to be held March 6 at 11 a.m. at the New Braunfels Church of Christ on 255 Saengerhalle Road.

Sean Kimmons is senior reporter for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Hays Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.

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One thought on “Evidence found in San Marcos native’s grisly murder

  1. I was a friend of Michael Vandyke while he was serving overseas in Mannheim Germany on Turley Barracks. He was a good kid and did not deserve what happened to him. The biggest thing I remember about Michael is he was just a kid trying to find himself and basically trying to fit in. What a sad…..my prayers go out to his family.

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