LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas — Deputies have identified the 16-year-old girl found shot to death on the side of the road in Liberty County Sunday.
The Liberty County Sheriff's Office identified her as Emily Rodriguez-Avila.
Investigators said an autopsy was completed Tuesday but they'll are still waiting for complete results to determine other factors as the investigation continues.
There are still no suspects in custody in this case.
Rodriguez-Avila's body was found dumped along a rural road just east of Plum Grove. Investigators said she was shot to death and found wearing a restaurant uniform with a blue "Niko's" cap. Sources told KHOU 11 News that the teen worked at the Niko Niko's location in Memorial.
Investigators are working to collect surveillance footage from the parking lot. She was last seen at the restaurant Saturday around 10:45 p.m. KHOU 11 spoke to the restaurant’s manager. He said he can't comment on the case but said it's a tragedy.
Sources told KHOU 11 News that her family came to pick her up but she sent them a text saying she had already left with friends. The next day, around 8:30 a.m. Sunday, her body was found in Liberty County. Someone passing by called 911 to say they saw her lying on the side of CR 3550 near CR 5708.
Who is she?
Some friends of the victim said the girl was originally from Central America (Guatemala) and had been in the United States for 10 years. They said she was a hard worker and wasn't currently going to school.
She had been living and working in Houston at the Niko Niko's restaurant and a McDonald's on Gessner Road near Westview Drive.
On Tuesday, the friends went to the spot where Rodriguez-Avila's body was found. They marked a spot for a cross on the side of the road where she was found.
Liberty County Sheriff's Office Captain Ken DeFoor said the area in which Rodriguez-Avila was found is a growing part of the county. The area is east of Plum Grove where streets are lined with lots that are waiting to be developed.
“She was just left on the roadside between the ditch and the surface of the road itself," DeFoor said. “We don’t know whether she was actually killed there or somewhere else and brought in ... but that’s part of the investigation now."
Liberty County only sees a few murders each year, but the area where Rodriguez-Avila was found has caught the attention of law enforcement before.
“We have had some instances up there of other shootings and murder and so forth. It is an active part of the county," DeFoor said.
There aren't any businesses with cameras for miles, and that's why investigators are focusing their energy on Houston. They're thinking cameras outside of Niko Niko's might have captured what vehicle she left the restaurant in.
“Eventually, we will find who did this," DeFoor said.
Authorities are asking anyone with information specifically about her social media profiles to call Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP (7867).