Capital murder charge filed against suspect in Kayla Gomez-Orozco case

Published: Nov. 7, 2016 at 8:00 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2016 at 8:03 PM CST
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Kayla Gomez-Orozco (Source: Family photo)
Kayla Gomez-Orozco (Source: Family photo)

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Charges have been filed against a man suspected in the death of an East Texas 10-year-old.

Monday, an arrest warrant for capital murder was filed against Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, of Mexico, according to Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.

The charge was upgraded to capital murder because it was committed in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, a Smith County official said.

Zavala-Garcia is a suspect in the case of Kayla Gomez-Orozco, who went missing during a Nov. 1 prayer service at a church in Bullard. Her body was later found in a water well at Zavala-Garcia's home on FM 2493.

Zavala-Garcia was booked Saturday night on an Immigration Detainer according to Smith County Jail records.

According to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Zavala-Garcia illegally entered the U.S. at an unknown date and unknown location. ICE officers first lodged a detainer on Zavala-Garcia on Oct. 10, 2014 after he was convicted in Smith County for assaulting a family member.

He entered ICE custody on Oct. 21, 2014 and was released on bond the same day. ICE said the 2014 case has not made it through the immigration courts.

Hundreds of East Texans responded Saturday after officials called for volunteers to help search for the Tyler ISD student. Volunteers, community members and others showed up to Bullard High School to lend a hand in the search.

Participants say the search initially began west of the Bullard First Assembly Church, where Kayla was last seen, on Highway 69. The search party changed its direction mid-afternoon, after an item was found following a tip to law enforcement officials.

READ MORE: Suspect in custody regarding Kayla Gomez-Orozco case
RELATED: Hundreds of volunteers searching areas of interest to find Kayla
RELATED: Visitation set Tuesday for Kayla Gomez-Orozco
IMAGES: IMAGES: Search underway for missing ETX girl

Late in the afternoon, officials confirmed that they located a body at a home on FM 2493. The area is only a few miles from where Kayla was last seen.

Smith County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger held an inquest at the scene and ordered the body taken to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas for an autopsy.

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