Bright, shining stars’: Family of 5 killed in connection with escaped inmate ID’d
A Texas community is reeling after five members of a Houston-area family were killed in an “unspeakable” crime.
Three brothers, their cousin and their grandfather were found murdered at the family’s ranch in Centerville, located between Dallas and Houston, on Thursday, authorities said.
An escaped inmate, who was killed in a shootoff with police hours after the family’s bodies were discovered by law enforcement, is believed to have broken into the home and committed the murders, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
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“Those kids were bright, shining stars,” David Crane, a long-time family friend, told reporters Friday, saying the “unspeakable” incident has resulted in an “unfillable loss.”
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The four boys, who attended Tomball Independent School District, were active in sports, including football and baseball, and loved spending time at the family’s ranch, Crane said.
The eldest brother, 18-year-old Waylon Collins, had just graduated from high school. He loved to fish at the ranch, Crane said.
The youngest, 11-year-old Hudson Collins, was baptized by a family member just three days ago in the family’s pool, according to Steve Bezner, senior pastor at the family’s church, Houston Northwest Church, in Houston.
They were found dead along with their brother, 16-year-old Carson Collins; their cousin, 11-year-old Bryson Collins; and their grandfather, 66-year-old Mark Collins, on Thursday after someone contacted law enforcement to do a welfare check, authorities said.
A vigil was held at Tomball High School Friday night in honor of the close-knit family.
“They’re incredibly active in the community, very well-known here, very well-beloved here,” Bezner told reporters. “The outpouring of support from the community is not simply in response to the tragedy, but actually in response to the fact that they are just loved people.”
The Collins family said in a statement that they are “devastated” by the loss.
“These precious people who loved and were loved by so many will never be forgotten,” the family said. “The impact on their family and friends cannot be overstated.”