Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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September 24, 2013

Rice deaths: Mother committed suicide

Corsicana — Click here for a video of Sheriff Elmer Tanner's Tuesday press briefing

Sheriff’s investigators now believe that Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle, one of five people found dead at a home near Rice on Sunday, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and her husband, Israel Alvarez, and the couple’s three children all died of “homicidal gunshot wounds.”

That’s according to a review of preliminary autopsy results for the family of five found dead Sunday night in their home on NWCR 0149 near Rice by a family member — the father of Israel Alvarez — who came to the home after having been unable to reach the family for several days.

Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner released new details of the probe into the tragic deaths at a Tuesday press conference. Tanner said the preliminary autopsy reports indicate the five people died sometime late Thursday or early Friday.

He stopped short of saying that Ronquillo-Ovalle killed her husband and three children and then turned the gun on herself, but said the agency is continuing to investigate the deaths as a murder/suicide.

“We saw some evidence there that was suspicious in origin that led us to believe she may have been the shooter in this case,” Tanner said, but added investigators want more clear-cut evidence to be examined.

“We don’t make those determinations until the evidence we have located supports what we believe as investigators to be the case,” he said.

“We do not believe there are any other suspects in the case,” Tanner said. “We believe it was contained within the residence.”

Two of the victims died of a single gunshot wound, two more of the victims had multiple gunshot wounds, and Ronquillo-Ovalle suffered a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound, Tanner said.

Tanner declined to provide specific details of which victims received multiple wounds, or where the victims were found inside the home. He did say it did not appear that anyone was trying to escape or run away from the home.

He said investigators have not determined a motive in the incident.

Asked about a possible link between the deaths and a Sept. 11 arrest of Alvarez on domestic violence charges, Tanner said “We can only assume that there were problems in the household that led to that case of family violence, and there may have been other incidents that were taking place.

“It’s a tragedy,” Tanner added. “A tragedy for the community, those families, and neighbors and we need to keep them in our prayers every day.”

Tanner said investigators are continuing to talk with family members and neighbors in an effort to understand why the shootings occurred.

About 40 people gathered outside the home of the family Monday night, erecting a monument to the children who were killed in the shootings. Another memorial was held Tuesday evening.


Bob Belcher may be reached by email at Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:


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