Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle (credit: Texas DPS)

Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle (credit: Texas DPS)

RICE (CBSDFW.COM) – A 33-year-old Navarro County mother shot and killed her husband and her three sons — ages 4, 8, and 10 — before turning a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle on herself.

“The preliminary autopsies have revealed all three children along with Israel Alvarez died of homicidal violence by gunshot wounds. Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to a statement released by the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department.

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Investigators say the shootings happened sometime late Thursday or early Friday.  The children did not attend school on Friday — and a family member found the bodies inside the family’s home Sunday evening, after several unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with them.

Investigators say Ronquillo-Ovalle did not leave behind a note and there is no clear motive for the shootings at this time.

“Certainly we believe it is going to be difficult to find a motive in this case.  We’re going to be conducting interviews with neighbors, friends of the victims to try to determine if there is any motive that we can uncover in this case,” said Sheriff Elmer Tanner, who said deputies will continue to investigate the case as a murder-suicide.

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

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“We cannot determine much from that incident, other than that was an isolated incident involving family violence,” said Tanner about Alavarez’s recent arrest.  “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.”

Tanner said each of the victims had a gunshot wound to the upper torso and Ronquillo-Ovalle had a single gun shot wound to the head.  Authorities have not released where the bodies were located inside the home, although Tanner said there was no indication that anyone was trying to escape the home at the time of the shootings.  Authorities do not believe that there is a suspect is on the loose, or that the community is in any danger. The investigation has been confined to inside of the home.

“I have been in law enforcement for approximately 25 years, and I can not recall during my career an incident where a mother was the shooter of her own children,” said Tanner.  “This is a traumatic incident.  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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