Court docs: Suspect lied about being accepted into Marines
The 19-year-old son of a Houston pastor was taken into custody for the triple murder of his family, police said Wednesday.
Two counts of capital murder have been filed against Isaac Tiharihondi, according to the Houston Police Department.
Investigators believe Tiharihondi killed his mom, dad, and their young boy at the family’s apartment in the 870 block of Strey Lane, not far from Memorial City Mall. Court documents show Tiharihondi used a lamp, baseball bat, and a hammer to kill his family. Their bodies were found in a back bathroom.
HPD identified the victims as Israel Ahimbisibwe, 51, Dorcus Ahimbisibwe, 47, and Israel Ahimbisibwe, Jr., 5.
Witnesses and family friends told police the last time they had heard from any of the victims was on Tuesday, Jan. 27. It was around 9:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2 when an apartment maintenance man found their bodies. There were no signs of forced entry at the home, police said.
According to HPD, investigators were later led to Tiharihondi’s whereabouts in Jackson, Mississippi. With the assistance of the FBI in Houston and Jackson, he was taken into custody early Wednesday morning. He’s expected to be transported back to Houston later this week.
Court documents show the murdered couple had a total of two older sons, including the suspect. One, a 17-year-old, is attending a boarding school in California. Prior to the murders, the 19-year-old suspect claimed to family and friends that he was due to enter the U.S. Marine Corps at the end of January, but during the investigation the military told police they have no record of his admittance.
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EARLIER STORY: Houston Pastor, Wife and Son Found Beaten to Death Inside Apartment
The bodies of three family members — a Houston pastor, his wife and their son — were found inside an apartment Monday morning in west Houston, according to Houston police.
Houston Fire Department firefighters found the bodies Monday morning at an apartment in the 800 block of Strey Lane, just south of Memorial City Mall, after concerned church members said the pastor and his wife did not show up at church on Sunday and couldn’t be reached on Monday.
“He didn’t show up for church yesterday afternoon, which is totally out of character for them not to let us know, and didn’t respond to text or phone calls,” church member Keever Wallace said.
Wallace and his wife, Brooke, knocked on the apartment door late Sunday but got no response. Brooke Wallace returned Monday morning and alerted an apartment manager, who opened the apartment to allow HFD firefighters to conduct a welfare check.
Houston police said the family of three was found dead in the apartment. Sources tell KPRC 2 that all three had been beaten to death. It’s not clear how long they had been dead.
Police said there were no signs of forced entry.
The victims have been identified as Israel Ahimbisibwe, vicar of Redeemer Episcopal Church in Houston; his wife, Dorcus; and their 5-year-old son, Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr., according to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
The Ahimbisibwes were parents to two older children as well, according to church members — both boys. One attends private school in California. The other graduated from Memorial High School last year.
Police are still combing through the apartment. The victims’ bodies have not been moved. Monday morning about a dozen church members gathered outside the apartment to pray for the family.
“It’s a shock,” Keever Wallace said. “This is just a shock. I don’t know how to make any sense of this at all.”
“This is a horrific and awful tragedy,” Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, said in a statement. “We are in touch with the police and Israel’s family here in Houston. Please keep the Ahimbisibwe and Redeemer families in your prayers.”
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Phil Archer, Robert Arnold, Matt Aufdenspring