RICE, Texas — Two parents and their three children were found dead Sunday in their home in this rural community 40 miles south of Dallas, victims of what investigators believe was a murder-suicide.
Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner said Monday that deputies were called to the home around 7 p.m. Sunday by the father of one of the victims, 33-year-old Israel Chairez Alvarez.
The father said he drove to the family's home after being unable to reach them for several days. When deputies arrived, they found Alvarez dead, along with his wife, Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle, 33; and their three children, ages 10, 8 and 4. Tanner declined to release the names of the children.
Tanner said all five of the victims suffered gunshot wounds to the upper torso. He said deputies had recovered a .22 caliber semi-automatic long rifle at the scene.
Tanner would not speculate on the time of death, saying only that the children did not attend school on Friday.
Tanner said his agency has responded to the home four times in the past, including a family violence call on Sept. 11 of this year after a fight between Alvarez and his wife. Alvarez spent two days in jail and was released after paying fines.
Neighbors of the Alvarez and Ronquillo-Ovalles expressed shock and sorrow Monday morning.
A woman who called herself a friend of Ronquillo-Ovalle but did not want to give her name said the entire community is in tears.
"Muy triste," she said, which is Spanish for "very sad." "Many tears…Our community prayed for the family. Our community cries."
Details for this story were reported by The Corsicana (Texas) Daily Sun.