BELLVILLE, Texas – A Bellville man was being questioned Monday in the shooting deaths of five family members.
The bodies were discovered around 2 p.m. Sunday in the 8400 block of FM 1456.
Sgt. Paul Faircloth of the Austin County Sheriff’s Office said four of the victims have been identified.
The bodies of 69-year-old George T. Washington, 54-year-old Debra Washington, 25-year-old Kiana Shree Thearse and toddler Khalilah Masse-Chambers were found inside the house.
The body of an unidentified adult male was found in the woods behind the home, Faircloth said.
Sources at the scene said the victims were the father, mother, pregnant sister, niece and brother of the suspect.
Officials have not identified the suspect aside from saying he’s a 20-year-old male who lived in the home with the victims.
The suspect was arrested around 3 a.m. Sunday after investigators said he tried to break into a nearby car and home. He was held at gunpoint by a neighbor until authorities arrived, Faircloth said.
He’s since been charged with burglary and attempted burglary, and the district attorney’s office is reviewing the case to see if capital murder charges can be filed.
Authorities have yet to determine how many times each victim was shot, but the bodies have been sent to the Travis County Medical Examiner for autopsies.
Stephanie Thomas, a woman who believes her husband is among the victims, said she didn’t know of any family problems that could have led to the slayings.
"I’m scared. I called him last night before I went to bed and he was like, ‘I love you,’" Thomas said.
Thomas said two other children also live at the home, and that a relative dropped them off Sunday afternoon and found the bodies.
"It’s a devastating loss. Everyone knows everybody here and it reaches through to the hearts of the community," Faircloth said.
The aging, single-story home where the bodies were found sits on a large lot off a two-lane road.
It’s across the street from a large plot of empty land and backs up to thick woods.
The closest neighbors are several hundred yards away.
Several sheriff’s department and Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles were parked in front of the home early Monday.
Bellville is a town of about 4,000 people located 55 miles northwest of Houston. The area drew attention in August with the shooting death of a physician at his ranch. Two suspects were arrested days later and charged with killing Dr. Jorge Mario Gonzalez of Houston
BELLVILLE, Texas -- Authorities say five people have been found slain in a home in southeast Texas.
Sgt. Paul Faircloth with the Austin County Sheriff's Department says in a news release that deputies found the bodies of four adults and one child Sunday at a Bellville home. Faircloth says one person is in custody and is being questioned in connection with the homicides.
Authorities would not release any additional information about the slayings, including the names of the victims, their relationship, or how they were killed.
The Texas Rangers are helping with the investigation.
Bellville is a bedroom community with a population of about 4,000 about 55 miles northwest of Houston.
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