HOUSTON -- Investigators have released the name of a man beaten to death June 9 in central Texas when a father allegedly caught him molesting his 5-year-old daughter.
Jesus Mora Flores, 47, of Gonzales, Texas, was an "acquaintance" of the father who had come to help care for some horses at a barn near rural Shiner, Texas, about 130 miles west of Houston, according to statements released by the Lavaca County sheriff's and district attorney's offices to the Los Angeles Times.
The 23-year-old father, whose name has not been released, was working on a horse and was barbecuing shortly before 3:43 p.m. that Saturday when someone alerted him that his daughter had been carried off to a secluded area by Flores, officials said.
The father heard the girl scream, and ran in that direction. He found Flores on top of his child, pulled him off and began hitting him in the head and neck, according to the district attorney's statement.
Someone called 911 to report the incident, and paramedics who responded found Flores' body lying in a pasture near the barn, his underwear down, according to the sheriff's statement. They performed CPR, but could not detect a heartbeat; Flores was pronounced dead at the scene by a justice of the peace at 4:50 p.m., officials said
An autopsy by the Travis County medical examiner's office found that Flores died from "blunt force head and neck injury," and the death was ruled a homicide, according to preliminary results released to The Times by Lavaca County Justice of the Peace Alene Lyons.
Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said evidence at the scene and witness statements supported the father's account of the incident. He said the father was "distraught" and "very remorseful" and did not intend to kill Flores.
"Despite the other factors involved, this is still a homicide investigation," Harmon said in the statement.
The investigation, assisted by the Texas Rangers, included a physical exam and interview with the girl, according to the district attorney's statement.
"Sheriff Harmon made the right decision in not arresting the father at the time of the incident," Lavaca County Dist. Atty. Heather McMinn said.
Harmon said a grand jury will consider this week what, if any, charges the father will face.
"This case has been very traumatizing on the child, her father and his entire family. I'm thankful the investigation is complete and that the district attorney will be presenting it to a grand jury," the sheriff said in the statement.
It was not clear when the special grand jury will convene; the next regularly scheduled grand jury for the area was not expected to meet until July, McMinn's staff said.