Relative Charged With Killing of Texas Girl Found in Well - NBC New York
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Relative Charged With Killing of Texas Girl Found in Well



    Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith and other law enforcement officials discuss the murder of 10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco of Tyler. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016)

    Authorities said they charged the uncle of a 10-year-old East Texas girl reported missing from church after she was found dead in a well Saturday.

    Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said firefighters recovered the body of Kayla Gomez-Orozco, of Tyler, from a well beside a home near Bullard.

    Smith said Gomez-Orozco's uncle, Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, was charged with capital murder Monday. His bond was set at $10 million.

    "It was clearly not an accident," Smith said.

    Gomez-Orozco was last seen Nov. 1 at a church in Bullard, 100 miles southeast of Dallas. Smith said the investigation led to the uncle's home several miles away.

    Smith declined to release a cause of death or a possible motive, pending charges.

    Two vigils have since been held for Gomez-Orozco, a fourth grader at Jack Elementary School in Tyler.

    "Kayla is and will always be a beautiful soul," said Jack Elementary principal Patricia Henderson.

    Hundreds gathered at the school including Kayla's parents. The family asked for privacy Sunday night.

    "There are really no words on how to cope with this," said Elicia Eckert, a family friend. "We just really need to hug our children a little tighter tonight."

    A second vigil was held in Bullard. Supporters at both prayer vigils wore pink, Kayla's favorite color.

    Grief counselors were available for students and staff at Jack Elementary on Monday.