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Uncle charged with murder in death of Texas girl found in well

TYLER, Texas -- A 24-year-old Mexican national has been jailed on a capital murder charge after his 10-year-old niece was found dead in a water well outside his East Texas home.


Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith says 24-year-old Gustavo Zavala-Garcia was booked Saturday into Smith County Jail on a federal immigration detainer.

Smith said an arrest warrant was issued for Zavala-Garcia Monday, charging him with capital murder. No attorney or bond setting for Zavala-Garcia is listed in online jail records.

Kayla Gomez-Orozco, reportedly the daughter of the sister of Zavala-Garcia’s wife, was reported missing after a Nov. 1 service at a church in Bullard, about 15 miles south of Tyler. Hundreds of volunteers searched the area for days until the girl’s body was found Saturday down the well of Zavala-Garcia’s rental home, about 2½ miles southeast of Bullard.

Zavala-Garcia was the last known adult to be seen with the child, reported CBS DFW.

Zavala-Garcia had been in the country illegally, the station reports. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers first encountered and lodged a detainer on Zavala-Garcia Oct. 10, 2014, after he was convicted in Smith County for assaulting a family member, the station reports.

He was reportedly taken into ICE custody on Oct. 21, 2014 and released on bond the same day.

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