SAN JACINTO COUNTY, Texas — The manhunt for Francisco Oropeza ended Tuesday night when he was captured at a relative's home in Cut and Shoot. The small Montgomery County town is about 20 minutes from the home where killed five people were killed with a rifle late Friday night in San Jacinto County.
- The FBI says a tip that came in at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday led them to Francisco Oropeza's aunt's home.
- They found Oropeza hiding in a closet under laundry, according San Jacinto Co. Sheriff Greg Capers.
- FBI agents and deputies arrested him around 6:30 p.m. and moved him to the San Jacinto County Jail.
- Oropeza is charged with five counts of murder with $1.5M bonds on each one for a total of $7.5M.
- Investigators say the $80,000 reward will be paid out to the unidentified tipster.
Here's a timeline of events in the mass murder, the manhunt and the arrest of Oropeza.
Friday, April 28 around 11:30 p.m.
According to Capers, deputies found multiple people shot around the home.
Officials identified the victims Saturday afternoon as the following:
- Sonia Guzmán, 28
- Diana Velásquez, 21
- Obdulia Molina, 31
- Jonathan Cáceres, 18
- Daniel Enrique Lazo, 9
"Everybody that was shot was shot from the neck up, almost execution style,” said Capers.
Editor's note: There have been discrepancies in the spelling and ages of the victims. We are using names and ages supplied to us by the Honduran government on Monday, May 1. Previous reporting used spelling and ages supplied earlier in the investigation by the Houston office of the FBI.
Saturday, April 29 at approximately 6:30 a.m.
Capers said investigators were looking for a neighbor of the victims. At this time, Oropeza had yet to be identified.
"We have probably a 2- to 3-mile perimeter of where we suspect that he's at," Capers said. "We're just closing the curtain on him."
Saturday, April 29 at approximately 9:20 a.m.
"The dogs will track whatever scent they smell," Capers said. "Just stay in your house. Be vigilant. If you see something, say something...this man is very dangerous and he is armed, potentially."
Saturday, April 29 at approximately 5 p.m.
"He could be anywhere now," Capers said. "We located the device that we were looking for. We found it abandoned. There were some articles of clothing laying around. The tracking dogs from Texas Department of Corrections picked up the scent and they lost that scent in the water or whatever."
Capers then said the search area expanded from five square miles to at least 10 to 20 miles. The FBI said they joined the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office and Texas DPS to set up a perimeter as the search continued.
Sunday, April 30 at approximately 10:00 a.m.
The FBI released a new image of Oropeza and a picture of a prominent tattoo on the suspect's forearm. They later retracted the image just after 12 p.m. and released the following statement:
"An incorrect image of Francisco Oropeza with a blue backdrop was mistakenly disseminated earlier today. The image has since been removed from FBI social media accounts. Please do not use that photo. Law enforcement agencies continue the search for Oropeza."
At 1:28 p.m., FBI Houston shared new images of Oropeza along with a change to the spelling of his last name to "better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems."
Sunday, April 30 at approximately 3 p.m.
During an impromptu press conference, Capers said more than 200 law enforcement officers were in the area searching for Oropeza. An $80,000 reward was offered for his capture.
Special Agent Smith with the Houston Office of the FBI said there were no leads at this time.
"Right now we just don't know, because if we did, we would have him in custody," Smith said. "We do not know where he is. We don't have any tips right now."
Capers followed up by saying he was unsure about the size of their search area.
"I don't remember saying 15 to 20 miles away, I might've said five," Capers said. "But we're not going to get into hashing that out."
During the news conference, Smith also addressed the wrong image of Oropeza that was plastered on the FBI Houston's Twitter account.
“It was a mistake on our side of it," Smith said. "We identified it we acted quickly to remove that photo.”
Monday, May 1 at approximately 1 p.m.
A heavy police presence was reported on Highway 105 Monday afternoon.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was spotted searching a landfill after an employee said they spotted a man walking near the wood line that might be Oropeza.
More than two hours later, MCSO said they were searching another area -- Crockett Martin Road and FM 2090 -- after receiving another report of a man possibly matching the description of Oropeza.
Multiple schools nearby were secured as deputies searched the area.
At about 4:35 p.m., MCSO sent an updated tweet saying after searching the area and conducting interviews, Oropeza was nowhere to be found.
Tuesday morning, May 2
Neighbors in San Jacinto County were on edge and frustrated that Oropeza was still on the run.
One woman told us she was carrying a gun and wouldn't hesitate to use it if he showed up again and threatened her family.
Another resident said vigilante justice might come into play if Oropeza returned to the neighborhood and they got to him before law enforcement did.
About 50 billboards went up across Texas and Louisiana with Oropeza's mug shot and the reward information.
Tuesday evening, May 2
Hours later, the entire community was relieved to learn the accused killer had finally been captured.
The FBI said a tip came into the hotline around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday that led them to Oropeza's aunt's home in the Montgomery County town of Cut and Shoot.
Law enforcement swarmed the home and found Oropeza hiding under a pile of laundry. He was arrested around 6:30 p.m. on one count of murder. More charges are expected.
Authorities said they had previously searched the location and found nothing. They said they're not sure how or when Oropeza got there.
Oropeza was transferred to the San Jacinto County Jail where he's being held on a five murder counts with a $1.5M for each victim for a total of $7.5M.
Wednesday, May 3
The wife of Francisco Oropeza was one of the people taken into custody in connection with his arrest Tuesday night near Cut and Shoot, Texas, according to the San Jacinto County District Attorney's Office.
Divimara Lamar Nava, 53, was arrested early Wednesday, Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson told the AP.
She is being held in the Montgomery County jail on a felony charge of hindering the apprehension or prosecution of a known felon, according to online jail records. She is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Nava had previously denied knowledge of Oropeza’s whereabouts, Henderson said, but authorities believe she hid him at the relative's home where he was arrested Tuesday night.
Before Oropeza's arrest, the DA’s office said they believed Nava was cooperating.
They said other people could be charged with helping Oropeza hide for four days.
Editor's note: The FBI changed the spelling of the suspect's last name from Oropeza, saying on Twitter, "Going forward, the subject's last name will be spelled "Oropesa" to better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems." We will continue to spell it as Oropeza for the sake of consistency.