Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000 Page: 6 of 102
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Gay mortidan found dead at funeral home
Ryan's body discovered locked inside casket at Oak Lawn business;
authorities await toxicology tests, say body showed no obvious trauma
By Tammye Nash
Authorities are investigating the death of a
gay mortician found last Saturday locked
inside a casket at his Oak Lawn funeral home,
where the dead man also lived.
Investigators said this week that the body
of Timothy P. Ryan, 29, was badly decomposed
but showed no obvious signs of trauma.
"We are awaiting the results of toxicology
reports to make a final ruling on cause of
death. But all the evidence so far indicates that
this was not a murder," said homicide Sgt. Mia
Ryan, 29, was found last Saturday at about
11:30 a.m. at Ryan and Rose Memorial Home at
3811 Fairmount St. His body was found inside
a locked casket in the funeral home's display
room, according to police.
A man later detained by police reportedly
acknowledged that he was with Ryan at the
time of the mortician's death, and said the pair
had been taking drugs.
Investigators said Ryan was last seen by
witnesses on Tuesday night as he left a Cedar
Springs nightclub with another man at about 9
Several items were missing from the house,
according to police and friends of the dead
man, including Ryan's Chevrolet Suburban.
But Sgt. Sullivan said that did not automatical-
ly indicate that Ryan had been killed.
"It's a long way from theft to murder," Sgt.
Worried friends had called police to the
funeral home after being, unable to contact
Ryan for four days, according to Carter Milam,
one of three friends who were with police
when the body was discovered.
"I knew something was wrong on
Wednesday. I had called him several times,
and he never called back. Tim always called
me back," Milam said.
Milam and two other friends of the dead
man entered the funeral home with police on
Milam said he noticed that a video game
machine and a VCR was missing and the tele-
vision had been moved.
"I knew immediately that there had been a
robbery," Milam said.
"Then we went into the casket display
room, and I noticed right away that two of the
caskets were closed. Those caskets were never
closed, because they were there for display,"
Ryan's body was found inside a cherry-
wood casket which had been locked from the
outside. The body had been wrapped in a com-
forter taken from the sofa on which Ryan usu-
ally slept, and his legs had been tied together
with rope taken from the drapes in the funeral
home's main sitting room, Milam said.
Sgt. Sullivan confirmed that Ryan's body
was found in a casket. But she declined to com-
ment on other details supplied by witnesses.
Milam said that a watch and ring also were
Milam said this week police told him they
had questioned a man who had been found
driving Ryan's missing vehicle.
"They told me he had been arrested on out-
of-state warrants," Milam said.
The detained man told police he had been
with Ryan on Tuesday night, and that they had
been taking drugs when Ryan collapsed and
died, according to Milam.
Sgt. Sullivan would confirm only that
police had talked with a man who "apparently
was with [Ryan] at the time of his death.
Everything he told us is consistent with the
evidence we have found indicating that [Ryan]
was not murdered," she said.
Other acquaintances of the dead man said
that Ryan often used drugs.
Friends described Ryan as a sweet and gen-
erous person who was working hard to make
his new business successful.
Ryan had been "in the funeral business
practically all his life," Milam said. He had
previously operated Allied Mortuary Services
at the same location, changing the business
into a full-service funeral home last December.
"He was one of the sweetest people you
would ever meet," said Milam. "He was a
friend to everybody he met. He would give
you the shirt off his back if you needed it."
Milam said Ryan lived at the funeral home
to save money, because the business was strug-
Witnesses said Timothy P. Ryan was last
seen leaving a gay nightclub with
another man days before his body was
"They had conducted their first funeral
service just a week ago last Saturday. The fam-
ily didn't have any money, really, so Tim basi-
cally paid for everything. He didn't make any
money off of it. He just barely covered his
costs. But that was just the way he was. He
wanted to help people," Milam said.
"He was just too sweet to have something
like this happen to him." T
Caven workers praise
stock ownership plan
CEO sees benefits in morale, employee retention
By Chris Leeds
Caven Enterprises Incorporated, parent
company of four nightclubs along Cedar
Springs Road, recently went up for sale — to
its employees, that is.
Caven Enterprises CEO Jack Polachek
announced late last year that he would sell 35
percent of the company to an independent
trust that would in turn offer it to Caven
employees in the form of stock shares. The
move has been popular with workers, accord-
ing to employee spokesman Mark Kirby.
In the works for a year, the Caven
Enterprises Incorporated Employee Stock
Ownership Plan was set up as a retirement
plan for workers, Polachek said. Kirby, who
serves on the ESOP committee with fellow
employees and representatives from upper
and middle management, said the program
truly benefits the employees.
"This actually encourages employees to
CEO Jack Polachek
. . says program
ployees to take more
pride in the compa-
stay at the corpora-
tion longer and take
more pride in the
company and the
the 29-year-old bar-
tender said. "This
way they can start
planning for retire-
ment. And should
they decide to move on and cash out, they can
take that money and invest it in another IRA or
mutual fund and keep it rolling."
Polachek echoed Kirby, adding that
employees will soon have a "say-so in policy
The fact that only employees can accrue the
stocks further solidifies their job security,
because outside stockholders could be tempt-
ed to bring in different workers, Polachek said.
"It sets a market up for me to sell my stock,
rather than try to find a third party outside the
See STOCK PLAN on Page 12
Garcia disputes claims
he used anti-gay slurs
State Representative from Dallas attributes rumors to political opponents
By Tammye Nash
State Rep. Domingo Garcia this week
adamantly denied reports that he has used
anti-gay slurs, saying he was "disappointed"
that officials of a local gay political action com-
mittee accepted those reports as true without
discussing the matter with him.
The Stonewall Lesbian and Gay Democrats
in January endorsed Diana Flores for the
District 104 state representative seat now held
by Garcia. The incumbent also sought the
endorsement of the gay Democratic group.
One of the reasons Stonewall gave for
endorsing Flores — despite Garcia's admitted-
ly spotless voting record on gay issues — was
a contention by some members that Garcia had
on occasion used the term "faggot" in refer-
ring to gays.
Garcia, who is an attorney, this week called
the accusation "preposterous" and "absolutely
untrue. If anyone claims in public that I used
such language, I can sue them . . . and I will
win," he said.
Bobby Wightman-Cervantes, a gay attor-
ney running for U.S. Senate, dismissed
Garcia's denials, saying that the state repre-
sentative has referred to him as a faggot "on
numerous occasions. He's always calling me
'that faggot lawyer who's in my way.'"
The two are bitter legal rivals who have
faced off in court more than once, most
notably in connection with a case in which
William Velasco II filed suit alleging seeking to
have Flores removed from her position on the
Dallas County Community College District
board of trustees. Velasco, represented by
Garcia, alleged that Flores, represented by
Wightman-Cervantes, had engaged in fraud to
Continued on Page 8
MARCH 3, 2000
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000, newspaper, March 3, 2000; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth615497/m1/6/: accessed December 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.