HOUSTON -- A central Texas father who told investigators he fatally beat a man he caught molesting his 5-year-old daughter at a horse barn on Saturday has not been charged, authorities said Tuesday.
Lavaca County Dist. Atty. Heather McMinn told the Los Angeles Times that the investigation was pending and that the case was due to be turned over to her office by Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon.
“Upon the completion of the investigation, the case will be presented to my office and a Lavaca County grand jury,” McMinn said.
On Tuesday, an autopsy was completed on the victim by the Travis County Medical Examiner, and preliminary results were turned over to Lavaca County's justice of peace, said Sarah Scott, the medical examimer's chief administrative officer.
Justice of Peace Alene Lyons told The Times that the results would not be released until the 47-year-old man's next of kin could be notified.
Harmon could not be reached by phone Tuesday, but Lyons confirmed much of what the sheriff had already said about the case, including that the 23-year-old father told investigators he beat the man with his hands.
"He did not use a weapon," she said.
On Monday, Harmon told Houston's KPRC-TV that the victim, whose name has not been released, was from Gonzales, Texas, and did not have a criminal record.
Harmon told KPRC that the victim was an acquaintance of the girl's father who came to the barn near Shiner, a town about 130 miles west of Houston, on Saturday to help care for some horses.
The adults were shoeing a horse and had sent the 5-year-old and her brother to feed chickens when the attack occurred, a relative told KPRC.
The children's grandfather said the boy returned to alert his father that the little girl had been taken away by a man. The father found the pair partially naked, investigators told KPRC.
"In the course of trying to get her away from him, and protect her, he struck the subject several times in the head and the subject died," Harmon told KPRC. "There doesn't appear to be any reason other than what he told us."
The girl was taken to a hospital to be examined and has since been released, Harmon said.
[For the record, 9:29 a.m., June 18: An earlier version of this post stated that the girl was 4 years old. Local officials later revised their report of her age to 5.]