Texas authorities are working to identify the charred skeletal remains of three people found on a Southeast Texas ranch, but Texas Department of Public Safety officials believe they’re that of a woman, man and their 5-year-old child who went missing last week.
Police have charged 36-year-old Robert Statterfield in the murders of Maya Rivera, 24, her boyfriend Rayshawn Hudson, 28, and their young son, Rayshawn Jr. after he led authorities to their bodies, CBS News reported. Statterfield, a family acquaintance, was spotted driving the missing 24-year-old’s car last Thursday.
Rivera and her family hadn’t been seen since June 10 and were reported missing last week, police said. Rivera’s mother, Frances Rivera, said she grew worried when the couple didn’t show up to celebrate Rayshawn Jr’s fifth birthday — a planned party replete with ice cream and cake in the park.
“I ask myself why? If only they had … but that doesn’t do any good,” Rivera wrote in a somber Facebook post. “It will not change anything. But I can find some sense of peace knowing all 3 of them together now are with God.”
According to the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office, forensic investigators determined the remains are consistent with those of an adult and a child, and based on witness accounts, deputies said they believe it’s the remains of the family. However, investigators said the remains are unidentifiable at this point because someone tried to dispose of the bodies by burning them.
Statterfield’s bond was increased Monday to a total of $1.5 million, a significant jump from the original $100,000 for each of the murder charges, KHOU reported. He was already being held at the Fort Bend County Jail when he led deputies to the property where the remains were discovered — nearly 50 miles from the couple’s Angleton home.
Police still haven’t determined a motive for the killings.
“I try not to think about the hows and the whys and the whens,” Frances Rivera told the Houston Chronicle, referencing the deaths of her loved ones. Instead, she thinks about her grandson, who she said had an “infectious smile” and loved scoring goal on the soccer field.
“Anything his daddy did, he wanted to be right behind him,” she said of the little boy.
Rivera said her family now hopes their three relatives can be buried together once their remains are officially identified.