Family member is lone suspect in death of 10-year-old girl

Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, is the only suspect in the murder of 10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco. Officials say he is married to one of the child's cousins. He was the last one seen with her before her disappearance.

TYLER, Texas -- Hundreds in Tyler mourned the loss Sunday of 10-year old Kayla Gomez-Orozco as detectives confirmed a male relative is suspected in her death.

Gomez-Orozco’s remains were found over the weekend in a well behind a home in Bullard, Texas, about 15 miles south of Tyler.

The home is approximately three miles north from where Kayla disappeared following a church service on Tuesday night.

The family member is described only as a Hispanic male born in 1992. A law enforcement source identified the suspect to WFAA as Gustavo Zavala-Garcia. His relation to Kayla remained unclear.

Zavala-Garcia was being held in the Smith County Jail on a Federal Immigration Customs detainer. Public records show he was arrested on assault charges in 2014.

Law enforcement sources told WFAA Zavala-Garcia was deported in 2014 but returned to Texas a short time later.

Officials said Sunday that a lead provided to law enforcement led to a search warrant being obtained. Kayla’s body was recovered after midnight.

“It was strictly a lead that was initiated by good investigative law enforcement,” Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.

No charges have been filed in Kayla’s death, but formal charges are expected in the coming days, the sheriff said.

Outside Jack Elementary in Tyler, where Kayla attended as a fourth grader, approximately 300 turned out for a vigil and prayer service Sunday night.

The brick pillars of the school and parking signs were adorned with bright pink ribbons, signifying Gomez-Orozco's favorite color.

The Tyler independent School District released the following statement Sunday afternoon:

We are saddened to learn that the body of Kayla Gomez-Orozco, the Jack Elementary school student who has been missing since Tuesday, Nov. 1, has been found.  Our hearts and sympathies go out to Kayla’s family and friends as they come to terms with this painful and senseless tragedy.  We ask that you keep the students and staff at Jack Elementary School in your thoughts and prayers. Additional counselors from throughout the District will be at the Jack campus next week to provide assistance and support as needed for staff and students.


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