Five people were found dead Sunday inside this home near Rice, Texas, photographed Monday, September 23, 2013.AP
This handout image provided by the Navarro County Sheriff's Office shows Israel Alvarez.AP2013
The killer was the mother.
That was the revelation by the Navarro County sheriff Tuesday about who caused the death of five members of a family in the Texas town of Rice, about 40 miles southest of Dallas.
The sheriff said that 33-year-old Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle fatally shot her husband and three sons in their North Texas home before killing herself with a single shot to the head.
Investigators were still trying to determine why Ronquillo-Ovalle killed her family late Thursday or early Friday.
Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner said the bodies of Ronquillo-Ovalle; her husband, Israel Alvarez, 33; and their sons, ages 4, 8 and 10, were discovered Sunday by Alvarez's father.
Alvarez and his sons had all been shot in the upper torso. Tanner said there was no indication that Alvarez fired any shots.
The killings came less than two weeks after Alvarez was charged with family violence. Tanner said investigators could not determine much from his Sept. 11 arrest for a misdemeanor family violence charge, "other than that was an isolated incident involving family violence."
"We can only assume that there were problems in the household," Tanner said at a news conference.
Maria Franco, a family friend, said the couple came to her home on Sept. 16, asking for advice about keeping their relationship together. The couple talked about "normal problems" they were having, she said.
"I didn't hear anything dangerous," Franco said.
According to a sheriff's office report released Monday, Ronquillo-Ovalle went to her children's elementary school on Sept. 11 to call 911 because Alvarez took away her cellphone and removed the battery. She told a deputy that she was on the phone talking to her sister when Alvarez entered the room and pushed her.
He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge, paid a $367 fine and was released after spending two days in jail, records show.
No divorce filings or requests for a restraining order were filed, and Ronquillo-Ovalle did not ask for a protective order, according to records.
In an audio recording released Tuesday of a 911 call made by Alvarez's father after he found the bodies, Manuel Alvarez said he thought the deaths were due to suicide from natural gas being left on in the home.
He had to use a ladder to enter the home through a second-story balcony.
Franco said the couple's 10-year-old son was best friends with one of her sons. She had to tell her son that his friend was now in heaven.
"I don't want to think about it," Franco said. "It breaks my heart."
Based on a story by The Associated Press.