A community has been left shocked and searching for answers after it was revealed that a Texas woman may have killed her two young sons, her husband, and then herself while on a family vacation. With police still looking into the case, many are left wondering what may have caused this believed murder-suicide.
Early Monday morning, police officers in Galveston, Texas, responded to a report that indicated shots fired at the local San Luis Resort. Once there, officers forced entry into a hotel room on the eighth floor after hearing “faint moans” from outside the room. Inside, officers found the bodies of four people with gunshot wounds. While the two adults seemed to be dead, the two young boys were pronounced as unresponsive but alive. The children were quickly transported to a nearby hospital, where they were later pronounced dead.
The identities of the family members were soon revealed to be 39-year-old Mauricio Morales, his wife, 37-year-old Flor de Maria Pineda, and their two sons, 10 and 5 years old.
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Upon further investigation of the crime scene, officials determined that Pineda used a gun to kill her husband and her two children before turning the weapon on herself. “Forensic data collected at the scene indicates that the female is believed to be the shooter at this time,” wrote the Galveston Police Department, according to KHOU. “And is believed to have killed her two children and her husband before apparently taking her own life with a 9mm handgun found adjacent to her body.”
Investigators said that the family is originally from Baytown, Texas, and checked into the San Luis Resort at around 7 p.m. on Sunday evening. While officials do not have a motive, they are confident that all signs point to the crime being a case of murder-suicide. As such, they are not currently searching for any suspects.
“It’s definitely not one of those things we experience here in Galveston very often and that this community has to experience very often,” said Galveston Police Captain Joshua Schirard in a press conference. “Neither is it one of those things that a family will ever want to have to experience.”
Unfortunately, cases involving parents murdering their children aren’t as uncommon as we like to think. CNN reported that there are roughly 500 instances a year in which a parent murders his or her child; 72 percent of those victims are 6 years old or younger, and about 43 percent of the murderers in these cases are mothers. Although other studies indicate that fathers are about 57 percent more likely to kill their children than mothers, USA Today reports that FBI homicide statistics suggest that dads are the culprit 70 percent of the time when it comes to multiple murders within one family.
A representative for the San Luis Resort also released a statement, saying that the company has every intention of cooperating with law enforcement in any way it can: “Our thoughts are with the victims and their family members during this difficult time. We are still gathering information about this isolated incident, however it appears to have been a murder-suicide amongst a family in their room,” said Paul Schultz, according to KHOU. “We are fully cooperating with the police department during their investigation and will assist them in any way we can.”