Causes of death released for Texas family likely killed by escaped inmate

·3 min read
Causes of death released for Texas family likely killed by escaped inmate

Five family members believed to have been killed by an escaped inmate in their Texas vacation home last week were fatally shot and stabbed, cause of death reports show.

Four children and their grandfather were found murdered at the family's ranch in Centerville, located between Dallas and Houston, on June 2 after a relative contacted law enforcement to do a welfare check, authorities said.

An escaped inmate, who was killed in a shootout with police hours after the family's bodies were discovered by law enforcement, is believed to have broken into the home and committed the murders, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Brothers Waylon Collins, 18, Carson Collins, 16, and Hudson Collins, 11, of Tomball, were killed, along with their cousin, 11-year-old Bryson Collins, and grandfather, 66-year-old Mark Collins.

All five victims were shot and had stab wounds or sharp force injuries, cause of death records released this week show. Mark Collins' injuries included a shotgun wound to the abdomen, his report noted.

They died on June 2 and their manner of death was ruled as homicide by the medical examiner with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas.

MORE: 'Bright, shining stars': Family of 5 killed in connection with escaped inmate ID'd

Visitation for the Collins family will be Friday evening at Houston Northwest Church in Houston. The family members will then all be laid to rest Saturday morning.

"These precious people who loved and were loved by so many will never be forgotten," the Collins family said in a statement last week. "The impact on their family and friends cannot be overstated."

PHOTO: A man and his four grandchildren were found murdered inside their family's ranch (Courtesy Collins Family|ABC News Photo Illustration)
PHOTO: A man and his four grandchildren were found murdered inside their family's ranch (Courtesy Collins Family|ABC News Photo Illustration)

The four boys, who attended Tomball Independent School District, were active in sports, including football and baseball. The eldest brother, Waylon, had recently graduated high school.

Their pastor described the family as having "the greatest character, the deepest faith and unrelenting kindness and love."

"I was honored to sit with the family last night and this morning again for several hours and the characteristic that continued to jump out was unrelenting faith," Steve Bezner, a senior pastor at Houston Northwest Church, told reporters during a press briefing last week at the church. "They did not understand -- why none of us can understand why. But they continue to say we trust that God is good. And we know that he is with us in the midst of these circumstances."

MORE: Escaped Texas inmate dies in police shootout after allegedly murdering family of 5

The family's ranch in Leon County was near where the inmate -- convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez -- had escaped on May 12.

Following the discovery of the murders, Atascosa County Sheriff's Office deputies spotted a pickup truck stolen from the ranch that Lopez, 46, was believed to be driving. The suspect was killed in an ensuing shootout with law enforcement, authorities said.

Investigators were seen at the ranch on Thursday. Further information on the case is not being released at this time, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is leading the investigation, told ABC News.

PHOTO: Law enforcement officials continue to investigate a ranch in Centerville, Texas, where five members of the same family were found murdered last week, on June 9, 2022. (KTRK)
PHOTO: Law enforcement officials continue to investigate a ranch in Centerville, Texas, where five members of the same family were found murdered last week, on June 9, 2022. (KTRK)

A massive manhunt had been underway for Lopez after he managed to break free from custody near Centerville while being transported from Gatesville to Huntsville for a medical appointment on May 12, authorities said. He was added to Texas' 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List and a $50,000 reward was issued for his capture.

Lopez was serving a life sentence for a capital murder in Hidalgo County and an attempted capital murder in Webb County.

This week, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it was temporarily suspending inmate transports while it conducts a review of its procedures in the wake of Lopez's escape.

Causes of death released for Texas family likely killed by escaped inmate originally appeared on abcnews.go.com