NAVARRO COUNTY, Texas— Three children and two adults were found dead inside their home Sunday evening in Navarro County, Texas the sheriff's office reported.
Sheriff Elmer Tanner identified the dead as 33-year-old Israel Alvarez and his wife 33-year-old Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle. Their three sons—ages 4, 8 and 10—were also identified among the deceased. All five had gunshot wounds to their upper torsos and authorities said they are investigating the case as a murder-suicide.
"Based on the evidence we've seen there at the residence and ... where the evidence is located in comparison to the bodies ... we're working this case as a murder-suicide," Tanner said.
"We're not confirming at this point and time who we believe to be the alleged shooter," he said.
The sheriff said a .22 caliber semi-automatic long rifle was found at the scene.
Authorities received a previous 911 call to the residence on Sept. 11. According to Tanner, Alvarez's wife said her husband shoved her during an altercation. She sustained no injuries.
"Mr. Alvarez was arrested for Class C family violence and brought to the Navarro County Justice Center," the sheriff said.
Alvarez pleaded guilty, paid a $367 fine and was released two days after the arrest.
In a statement posted on the department's Facebook page, Tanner said dispatchers received a 911 call from Alvarez's father at about 7 p.m. The caller said five members of his family were dead in the home in the 700 block of NW 0149 near Rice.
Tanner said while he could not confirm the time or date of their deaths, he said the last confirmed day someone visited with one of the family members was Thursday afternoon. The children also attended Rice Elementary School that day but not Friday.
"A homicide by itself is traumatic," Tanner said. "But when you involve children of ages 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. With that being said, I feel like I need to say this: we need to remember. I know that we will take the time to remember those victims and their families this morning. Our prayers need to go out to them and be with them because there are a lot of people who have been touched by this unfortunate incident."
The official causes of deaths are pending results from examinations by American Forensics in Dallas.
Rice is about 40 miles southeast of Dallas.
WFAA.com's Walt Zwirko contributed to this report