The partner of a Texas man suspected of shooting to death five of his neighbors was arrested Wednesday for helping him avoid capture, and at least one other person is likely to face similar charges, authorities said.
Divimara Lamar Nava had denied knowing where Francisco Oropeza wasbut authorities believe he hid him at the home where he was arrested Tuesday night in the town of Conroe, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away from Cleveland, where the shooting took place on Friday, Rand Henderson said. Montgomery County Sheriff.
Oropeza had a personal connection to the Conroe home, which is where Lamar Nava was also arrested, according to San Jacinto County Deputy Sheriff Tim Kean. He did not elaborate.
“I think he thought he was somewhere safe”Kean noted.
Lamar Nava is being held at the Montgomery County Jail on a charge of hinder the arrest or prosecution of a criminal, according to online jail records. Henderson identified Lamar Nava as Oropeza’s wife, although jail records indicate that she is not married, but that she shares an address with him.
Several other people have also been detained, authorities said, although they only shared details of one of them. It is about Domingo Castilla, whom they identified as a friend of Oropeza.
Castilla was arrested Tuesday in the Trails End neighborhood where the victims were shot, San Jacinto County District Attorney Todd Dillon said. Castilla was charged with marijuana possession, but authorities plan to charge him with obstructing Oropeza’s apprehension.Dillon added.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Kean said he would not elaborate on the other people in custody, nor say how many have been arrested.
Meanwhile, Oropeza was charged Wednesday with five counts of intentional homicide during a prison hearing.San Jacinto County Justice of the Peace Randy Ellisor reported. Bail was set at $1.5 million per charge, for a total of 7.5 million dollarsEllisor noted. Castilla’s bail was set at $5,000. Oropeza is a Mexican citizen who has been deported four times between 2009 and 2016, according to US immigration officials.
The persecution of Oropeza ended on Tuesday, when the authorities, following a lead, The suspect was found hiding under a pile of laundry in the closet of the Conroe home..
Police had already seen Oropeza Monday afternoon in Montgomery County, causing several schools to close, Kean said at a news conference outside the county jail on Wednesday.
“We confirmed that it was him on foot, running, but we lost track of him”Kean commented.
Kean declined to comment on the tip that led authorities to Conroe’s home, which he said had not been searched by authorities.
The arrest came after authorities set up a network of more than 250 people, drones and sniffer dogs from various jurisdictions and offered $80,000 in rewards. The tip that ended the chase came at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday. A little over an hour later, Oropeza was in custody, according to FBI Deputy Special Agent Jimmy Paul.
FBI spokesman Connor Hagan said authorities were not going to release the identity of the person who provided the tip, one of more than 200 he said investigators received.
The victims have been identified as Diana Velásquez Alvarado, 21 years old; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31 years old; José Jonathan Casarez, 18 years old; Sonia Argentina Guzmán, 25, and Daniel Enrique Laso, 9, all from Honduras. Velásquez Alvarado’s father, Osmán Velásquez, said his daughter had recently obtained legal residency in the United States.
Velásquez Alvarado’s husband, Wilson García, survived the attack. He said that friends and family who were in the house tried to hide and protect the children after Oropeza entered the house and began shooting, first killing his wife in the driveway.
Offering a reward for Oropeza’s capture, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott said the victims were “illegal immigrants,” drawing strong criticism. His office apologized Monday.
A federal government official in Honduras said the remains of the four victims will be repatriated. Velásquez Alvarado will be buried in the United States at the request of her sister and her husband, said Wilson Paz, the general director of migrant protection for Honduras.
Osmán Velásquez said his daughter had traveled to the United States without documents eight years ago with the help of a sister who already lived there.
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