By Brian New

NEAR RICE (CBSDFW.COM) –  They are old enough to know, yet many too young to understand.

Classmates of the three young boys from the small town of Rice who were murdered in a suspected domestic murder / suicide, brought flowers and hand-written letters to make-shift memorial outside the Alvaraez family home.

Inside Sunday evening five people were found shot to death including the three boys, ages 4,8, and 10.

“I never thought I would have to give this (talk) to my kids at all,” said Marina Mendez, who brought her children to a prayer vigil outside the home Monday evening. “I got to explain that the body dies but the soul still lives and that they are going to be okay.”

Dozens of students came throughout the evening with their mothers to add stuffed animals, signs, and candles to the growing memorial.  Many prayed together and even sang.

Mendez said she told her children, ‘sometimes adults make bad decisions’, and then prayed they would understand.

The Navarro County Sheriff’s Office had not identified the shooter as of Monday evening.

Two weeks ago, 33-year-old Isreal Alavarez was arrested on a class C assault charge, spent two days in jail and ordered to pay a fine.  According to investigators, his wife, 33-year-old Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle, says he pushed her.


Israel Alvarez (credit: Navarro County Sheriff's Department)
Israel Alvarez (credit: Navarro County Sheriff’s Department)

Alvarez’s father was the person who reported the deaths. He visited the home after several days of being unable to get in touch with those family members. The last confirmed contact with any of the victims was on Thursday. The kids were not present at school on Friday.

Sheriff Elmer Tanner said Monday that this case is being investigated at as murder-suicide. Each of the victims had a gunshot wound to the upper torso and a gun was found at the scene. The actual shooter has not yet been determined. Authorities do not believe that a suspect is on the loose, or that the community is in any danger. The investigation has been confined to inside of the home.

“This is a traumatic incident. Anytime that there is a loss of five lives, at any point in time, it’s a traumatic incident,” said Tanner. “Obviously, this is a situation where children are involved. A homicide by itself is traumatic. But when you involve children of the ages of 10, 8 and 4 — most of our officers, first responders, they all have children, and that is a bad situation for anybody to be asked to go in and investigate.”

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