EDINBURG — Three days after police responded to a 9-1-1 call at 301 W. Kuhn St. in Edinburg where they discovered three bodies and an unharmed toddler, authorities have not yet detailed what happened when a man gained entry into the residence and murdered the trio.
Hours later, investigators found the suspect’s body at a separate location.
The suspect, who police have not identified, would have been charged with capital murder of multiple persons, according to the first page of a police report obtained Friday through a Texas Public Information Act request.
His identity is not included on that one-page document.
The Edinburg Police Department has also not identified the victims, but the first page of the police report lists them as 19-year-old Rebecca Lee Cantu, 48-year-old Magdalena Cantu and 30-year-old Aaron Cortez.
Chief Cesar Torres said during a Tuesday press conference that the toddler is safe and was being monitored.
On Friday afternoon, Torres said via text message that his department would not release any new information about what occurred during an incident he called “horrific” during a Dec. 10 news conference.
“We will not release anymore info at this time,” Torres said in the text. “Criminal Investigations are still gathering additional evidence.”
During that news conference, Torres said information would be made available to the public as it emerges. At the time, the chief said the identities of the deceased would be released as next of kin was notified.
An investigator who was at the crime scene that morning could be seen talking to two crying individuals. In another area of the lobby at the police department, two other people stood embracing and crying.
At about 1:30 p.m. Dec. 10, a man called The Monitor newsroom and told an editor that he could not reach two of his family members, Rebecca Lee Cantu and Magdalena Cantu. The editor called Torres and provided this information to the chief.
On Dec. 11, Torres said the identities of the deceased would not be made public until autopsies were concluded, which he said might happen by Friday.
The Monitor obtained the front page of the police report Friday, which contained the names of the victims and the charge against the suspect, whom authorities believe took his own life.
The newspaper had requested the entirety of the police report, including all of the law enforcement narratives. However, the city of Edinburg said in a letter that it would not release anything but the front page of the police report while relying on a previous Texas Attorney General’s ruling that prohibits the release of the information if it interferes with the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime.
The Monitor has re-filed the request, which requires the city of Edinburg to request an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
At that Tuesday news conference, Torres did say that the individuals who died included a mother, her daughter, a home healthcare provider and a man who was dating one of the women.
A friend of Cortez, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that Cortez was the home healthcare provider who had been working at the apartment.
With the family member identifying Rebecca Lee Cantu and Magdalena Cantu, this leaves the boyfriend as the last of the four people who died violently Tuesday.
Since police have said they believe a suspect died by suicide after murdering three people, it’s possible the boyfriend, who is the only individual not identified, is the person who would have been charged.
Torres said during the news conference that all of the individuals died from possible gunshot wounds.
While at the crime scene, two neighbors who live in the area said they never heard gunshots or any kind of disturbance. However, one of those neighbors did say that he saw a man calling 9-1-1 just before 7 a.m. Dec. 10, adding that the police interviewed him.
The neighbor said when the 9-1-1 caller spotted him taking out the trash, the caller left the scene and he never saw the man again. This individual provided a description of the caller to police.
While the motive remains unknown, Torres brought up domestic violence during the news conference.
“We urge the public to please call 9-1-1 at any first signs of domestic violence or any type of violence so we can get them the proper help,” Torres said.