A total of two men and one woman and three children were killed over the weekend while camping on their land near Palestine, Texas. One woman survived the attack by hiding and called police Sunday morning.
Anderson County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 800 block of County Road 2217 near the community of Tennessee Colony, northeast of Palestine, on a call about a possible shooting. When the deputies arrived they discovered a man and a woman, both adults, who had been killed, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). The survivor reported that four additional people were missing from the campsite.
Later on Sunday, authorities determined the suspected killer to be William Hudson, 33, a man living on a neighboring property. He was taken into custody without incident.
ACSO spokesperson Lauren York told Breitbart Texas that the bodies of the four missing people were found in a pond located on the back part of Hudson’s property. All of the bodies found in the pond were male. At least some of the victims were killed by gunfire.
A woman, identified as Cynthia Johnson, wife of one of the victims, survived the incident by hiding and eventually called 9-1-1 for assistance, the Franklin Sun Journal reported.
York said the campers were two families with different last names. She said the two families may be related by marriage. She said all of the victims were white.
WFAA is reporting the identity of three of the victims. They reported that Carl Johnson, Thomas Kamp and Hannah Johnson are among the victims of the mass murder. Kamp is reported to be the property owner where the murders took place.
The two victims who were initially found were Carl Johnson, 77, and his daughter Hannah, the Sun Journal reported.
Hannah’s boyfriend Thomas Kamp and his two oldest children were killed, along with Hannah’s 6-year-old son Kade Johnson, according to the Sun Journal. Their bodies were found in the pond owned by the suspect’s family. The bodies of Kamp and all of the children were found in the pond on Hudson’s property. Kamp and Hannah Johnson had recently purchased the property and were camping for the weekend. The ACSO has not yet released any of the victims names.
Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor told reporters in a press conference that Hudson had no relationship with the victims. He also said this was not their first encounter with Mr. Hudson. “We handled him for assault within the last few weeks,” the Sun Journal reported Taylor saying. “He was violent, but it wasn’t of this nature.”
Lauren York said it does not appear that drugs or alcohol was a factor in the killings. A toxicology report has been ordered.
In an interview with Breitbart Texas, York said, “I have never seen anything like this. It is just horrible.” She said that Hudson is not being cooperative so they do not have a motive for the murders at this time.
Witnesses said they heard gunshots and screams on Saturday night.
Hudson remains in the Anderson County Jail on one count of murder. His bond is set at $2.5 million. The investigation is continuing. He is expected to face additional charges.
The names and ages of the deceased have not yet been released.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.