Authorities have yet to determine who fired the shots, though the children's father was arrested less than two weeks ago on a family violence charge.
The father of Israel Alvarez, 33, called 911 on Sunday night after discovering the bodies of his son, 33-year-old daughter-in-law Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle and their children with gunshot wounds to their torsos, Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner said. He said a rifle was found at the home on the outskirts of Rice, about 40 miles southeast of Dallas. Autopsies have been ordered.
Investigators were trying to determine when the shootings took place, Tanner said, saying the children, ages 4, 8 and 12, were in school Thursday afternoon but missed classes Friday.
Alvarez was arrested Sept. 11 on a misdemeanor family violence charge for pushing Ronquillo-Ovalle and taking away her phone because he thought she was talking to another man, she told deputies.
According to a sheriff's office report released Monday, the woman went to her children's elementary school to call 911 because Alvarez took away her cellphone and removed the battery. She told a deputy that she was on the phone talking to her sister when Alvarez entered the room and pushed her.
Alvarez was charged with family violence assault, a misdemeanor. He pleaded no contest, paid a $367 fine and was released after spending two days in jail, records show.
No divorce filings or requests for a restraining order were filed, and Ronquillo-Ovalle did not ask for a protective order, according to records.