A prosecutor said on Wednesday that the longstanding boyfriend of a man accused of killing five people, including a 9-year-old, in a neighboring Texas home appeared to be collaborating with investigators but was actually helping the suspect elude them during a days-long manhunt.
Francisco Oropesa, a Mexican national, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with five counts of murder following the mass shooting on Friday night. While the charges were being read to him on Wednesday in the San Jacinto County jail, Oropesa, 38, said very little.
County Justice of the Peace Randy Ellisor stated, “He basically said, ‘I see, I see,'” through an interpreter. Ellisor stated that bond was set at $1.5 million each count, for a total of $7.5 million. On Wednesday, Oropesa remained in custody at the county facility. Ellisor said the necessary steps are being taken to have him appointed a counsel.
District attorney’s office sources told CNN that capital murder charges, which carry the death penalty in Texas, could be filed against Oropesa. On Wednesday, authorities revealed new details about two other suspects who had been arrested.
Online sheriff’s records show that Divimara Lamar Nava, Oropesa’s lifelong partner, has been charged with the third-degree felony of impeding the arrest or prosecution of a known felon. Until her arrest, “Ms. Nava appeared to be cooperating,” said San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Todd Dillon.
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But “what we believe Ms. Nava was doing is providing him with material aid and encouragement, food, clothes, and had arranged transport to this house,” as the police put it. Public records reveal she is not married, yet the DA and other officials have referred to Nava as the “wife” of the suspected killer.
It’s unclear if Dillon was referring to a common-law marriage or a legally binding marriage. However, “they were cohabitating as husband and wife.” The San Jacinto County Sheriff, Greg Capers, and the case files indicate that Nava was apprehended in the same Montgomery County residence where Oropesa was discovered Tuesday evening, stowing himself in a closet beneath a mountain of dirty clothes.
It was unclear whether or not she had legal representation or when she would appear in court. A law enforcement source told CNN that Nava had been followed to the address because of its association with one of Oropesa’s relatives. That house is located in Cleveland, a city to the north of Houston, and is about 20 minutes from the scene of the massacre.
Domingo Castilla, who is also accused of aiding Oropesa, was detained and taken to the San Jacinto County jail, according to Ellisor. “We expect there to be more charges filed,” Dillon said, adding that he was being held on a possession of marijuana charge.
More than 180 mass shootings have already occurred in the United States in 2018. The limited resources of rural sheriff’s agencies were also highlighted.
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