Mark Collins took his 4 grandsons to his ranch on a getaway trip to fish and relax. A few hours later, they were found dead inside their home by the police.
He had gone up to his ranch in northwest Houston with his grandsons Karson, Waylon, Bryson, and Hudson on Sunday for a weekend filled with activities like fishing, swimming in big ponds, and practice shooting.
After a few family members were unable to contact them for various consecutive days, they called the police to check on them on Thursday.
The investigation to understand what happened after they were all found dead inside their ranch home tied their murder to escaped convict 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez. He broke into the house and stole their guns, clothes, and a truck from the property before the police forces shot him dead around 200 miles away.
Collins apparently knew that an ex-convict tied to the Mexican drug cartel was loose around the area, but was not aware that he had already broken into one of his neighbor’s houses, as told by one of his friends David Crain. Lopez had escaped prison around three weeks ago and was being chased by the police.
Investigators are still trying to piece the crime scene pieces together to comprehend what happened exactly that day. The convict escaped on May 12th from the prison and it is still unclear whether he was already at the Collins’ house when they arrived or if he broke in afterward.
When authorities arrived at the scene their truck was already missing, and they found Lopez driving it in Atascosa County, around 260 miles from the ranch. The police chased the convict for a while until he crashed the vehicle and was fatally shot.
The family pastor Steve Bezner stated in a phone interview with The Washington Post that Collins and his grandchildren had no prior connection to Lopez. He also commented that the whole community was devastated since Mark Collins and the kids were largely appreciated by everyone that knew them.
Waylon, 18, Carson, 16, Hudson, 11, and Bryson, 11 were very active kids who played sports and enjoyed family activities.
“Mark was a very active husband, father, and grandfather who loved his grandchildren dearly and loved to spend time with them outdoors,” he said. “The boys were all involved in a variety of community activities — football, baseball, soccer”, stated Bezner.
The remaining family of the victims have asked for privacy in such a difficult time for them and released a statement saying “These precious people who loved and were loved by so many will never be forgotten. The impact on their family and friends cannot be overstated.”
The family has already received support from the community, including $200,000 raised in a GoFundMe campaign for their funeral arrangements. This was a tragedy that struck a chord with the community as the Collins family was very involved in the region’s different activities.