Family member charged in death of missing Texas girl

Authorities in Tyler charged a 24-year old man with capital murder in the death of a 10-year old girl that prompted an Amber Alert last week.

Gustavo Zavala-Garcia received a $10 million bond on Monday after detectives say he was responsible for the death of Kayla Gomez-Orozco.

The 4th grader was found in a well behind a home Saturday night in Bullard that Zavala-Garcia lived at, ending an exhaustive search that gripped much of East Texas for days.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith confirmed to WFAA on Monday that Zavala-Garcia was at the church where Kayla disappeared from on November 1.

"I've seen a lot of bad stuff but this is one of the worst," Smith said.

Smith says detectives continued to work the crime scene on Monday off FM2493, approximately 15 miles south of Tyler and were able to gather additional evidence from the well that led to the capital murder charge.

He says detectives do have a narrative of a possible motive they are working from, but will not release that to the public.

"We want a jury to hear that, and we don't want a change of venue," Smith said.  "Smith County is not somewhere I would want to go in East Texas to commit a crime like this."

Zavala-Garcia was originally being held in the Smith County Jail on a Federal Immigration Customs detainer. Public records show he was arrested on assault charges in 2014.

Law enforcement sources told WFAA Zavala-Garcia was deported in 2014 but returned to Texas a short time later.

Officials said Sunday that a lead provided to law enforcement led to a search warrant being obtained. Kayla’s body was recovered after midnight.

“It was strictly a lead that was initiated by good investigative law enforcement,” Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.

Outside Jack Elementary in Tyler, where Kayla attended as a fourth grader, approximately 300 turned out for a vigil and prayer service Sunday night.

The brick pillars of the school and parking signs were adorned with bright pink ribbons, signifying Gomez-Orozco's favorite color.

The Tyler independent School District released the following statement Sunday afternoon:

We are saddened to learn that the body of Kayla Gomez-Orozco, the Jack Elementary school student who has been missing since Tuesday, Nov. 1, has been found.  Our hearts and sympathies go out to Kayla’s family and friends as they come to terms with this painful and senseless tragedy.  We ask that you keep the students and staff at Jack Elementary School in your thoughts and prayers. Additional counselors from throughout the District will be at the Jack campus next week to provide assistance and support as needed for staff and students.


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