Blackwell Police and the OSBI are investigating a motel manager's homicide. Deepkuner “Deep” Bhakta, 25, was found dead in the parking lot, and investigators say the incident may have started with a trespasser he had asked to leave.
Those who knew him say Deep was turning the motel business around and was on the path to success when he was killed in his own parking lot.
“It doesn’t happen,” said insurance agent and friend Doug Hodges. “I’ve lived here for over 10 years and nothing like this has ever happened.”
Investigators are still trying to figure out what led to Deep's death, but he called 911 about an unwanted person on the property not long before it happened, saying, “There’s a lady parked in my parking lot and I asked her to leave. She’s not leaving.”
He mentioned in the 911 call that the woman was in a van.
When Blackwell police responded, they found Deep dead from head trauma, and called in state agents to help investigate.
OSBI spokesperson Jordan Solorzano said, “We have a reason to believe he was assaulted and killed in the parking lot. OSBI takes all our requests for assistance very seriously. We will run down all investigative leads until we make a determination.”
Deep's killer had fled the motel, which is right next to the interstate.
“That area up there is a well-traveled corridor,” Solorzano said. “It has easy access to I-35, lots of traffic through there.”
Blackwell Police Chief DeWayne Wood told News 9 the OSBI is now investigating if there is a connection to a fatal crash in Payne County just half an hour after the motel murder. A woman driving south flipped her van across the interstate and died. State troopers say she smelled of alcohol.
As the investigation continues, loved ones are just mourning Deep's loss. Locals say he had been dedicated to his community since taking control of this property a couple years ago.
“He was just very well-respected and well-mannered and not abrasive in any way,” said Hodges, “just a meek, kind, business-minded young man.”
Family members are planning a funeral for Deep in the local community.