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MIDLOTHIAN (CBSDFW.COM) – A community is grieving as loved ones talk for the first time to CBS11 News after 6 members of one family were killed in Anderson County near Palestine.
It’s the kind of horror that always happens somewhere else. But, for members of an extended, blended family with ties to North Texas, the nightmare has come home.
“No words can describe the pain and sorrow,” said Steven Woodruff, spokesperson for the families of the victims.
Tom Kamp and Kamp’s fiancée Hannah Johnson died along with Johnson’s six-year-old son, Kade. According to family members, Kamp’s had four sons from a previous marriage who lived with their mother in California.
“He’d invited the two older boys, Nathan and Austin, to Texas to celebrate Nathan’s 24th birthday later on this month,” says Woodruff, who is married to Kamp’s aunt. “We had a nice celebration here on Friday night. Family and friends were all here, we had a good time. Obviously they were going camping on Saturday afternoon.”
According to Woodruff, Kamp’s sons had never seen the 16 acres he’d purchased in East Texas in August. They were expected to return to California on Sunday. Their mother is understandably devastated.
“She’s heartbroken…I don’t know what else to tell you,” says Woodruff. “It’s a tragedy and nothing you can prepare yourself for. She has two other boys, 13 and 15…it’s going to be very difficult for them as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Hannah’s parents, Carl and Cindy Johnson, of Hillsboro, also joined the family for their East Texas camping trip. A neighbor tells CBS 11 that he’d spoken with Carl on Thursday and he was full of excitement about the upcoming trip… and called him a “really neat guy”. Cindy was the only survivor of the attack that left the remainder of her family dead.
“They were good parents, good adults… good community members,” says Woodruff. Now, the families left behind are all struggling to find a way forward. “A lot of it is going to take time… and with time comes acceptance. There’s no way you can steel yourself for this kind of tragedy.”
The Anderson County sheriff said the man accused of the family’s homicides, William Hudson, 33, befriended the group and helped get one of their vehicles out of the mud.
“A vehicle was stuck on their property and he helped them get it out and I guess they kind of befriended each other that day, and he hung out with them. From there… something bad happened,” said Sheriff Greg Taylor, Anderson County.
Hudson spent time with the family Saturday, according to investigators, then allegedly returned later that night and killed them.
Authorities haven’t said how Hudson allegedly carried out the crimes.
Autopsies have yet to determine all the victim’s causes of death.
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