UPDATED Son of Slain Episcopal Priest Arrested, Charged With Murdering Family
Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe
Update 3:30 p.m.: We have obtained a copy of the criminal complaint filed in the case, which outlines many previously unreported details surrounding the deaths of the Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe, 51, his wife, Dorcus Ahimbisibwe, 47, and their five-year-old son, Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr. This story has been updated throughout.
Police have arrested the teenage son of an Episcopal priest who was found dead in his apartment Monday morning alongside the bodies of his wife and five-year-old son.
Isaac Tiharihondi, 19, was arrested in Mississippi early Wednesday morning, according to a statement from the Houston Police Department. He's been charged with two counts of capital murder, accused of killing his parents, the Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe, 51, Dorcus Ahimbisibwe, 47, and their son Israel Ahimbisibwe, Jr., 5.
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Parishioners at Church of the Redeemer first suspected something was awry when Rev. Ahimbisibwe failed to show for services on Sunday. According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, multiple friends called the Memorial-area apartment complex where the family lived saying they hadn't seen the Ahimbisibwes in several days. Knocks at the apartment door and phone calls went unanswered, so by Monday morning a maintenance worker forced his way into the apartment -- the front and back doors had been dead-bolted from the inside, so the worker had to break a window to get into the apartment. Once inside, the maintenance worker discovered a horrific scene and called police.
Officers who responded found "a significant amount of blood" in different areas of the apartment. The bodies of Ahimbisibwe and his wife were lying on the bathroom floor; they appeared to have suffered from blunt-force trauma to the head, according to court records. The five-year-old boy had been stabbed in the neck and back, his body placed in the bathtub. The bodies had been covered in towels and blankets. Police found blood on a nearby hammer, baseball bat, lamp and knife. It was unclear exactly where the violence had occurred; an officer wrote that it looked like bodies had been moved or dragged throughout the apartment.
By the appearance of the bodies, the family must have been dead "for a considerable period of time," according to court records.
Based on the investigation, it appears the last time anybody saw or spoke to any of the three victims was the night of Tuesday, January 27, when a neighbor stopped to chat with Dorcus Ahimbisibwe as she walked to the gym.
Court records state that police eventually spoke with Emanuel Ahimbisibwe, the parents' 17-year-old son who attends boarding school in California, who told investigators that he last spoke to his brother Isaac the afternoon of January 27. Isaac, the brother said, was slated to leave for boot camp with the U.S. Marine Corps later that week and sounded excited. However, when Emanuel spoke with his mother, she told him that she knew Isaac had lied about enlisting with the Marines. She told him that she and his father planned to confront Isaac later that night; Emanuel asked her to let him know how it went. That was the last time he spoke with his family.
After that, people only remembered seeing or talking to Isaac, according to court records. One family friend told police she picked up Isaac at the apartment to take him out to lunch on January 28, but that she didn't go inside the apartment. While the two were eating, Isaac told the friend he needed to go back home and pick up his little brother from school. Yet a worker at Bunker Hill Elementary, which the five-year-old attended, told police the boy didn't go to school that day.
Another neighbor told police he'd last seen Isaac on January 29. Isaac told him he was leaving for the Marine Corps, and was reporting for duty the next day.
Federal authorities ultimately tracked down a taxicab driver who picked up Isaac the morning of Saturday, January 31, in New Orleans. As she drove him around the city, she could see Isaac had three cell phones in his possession. He was on speaker phone at one point, and she could hear him talking with "a male with a heavy accent and he told the male he had to leave town," according to court records.
When the driver dropped him off, Isaac offered to buy her cell phone from her, but the driver refused, she told police.
Police say Isaac Tiharihondi is being held at a jail in Raymond, Mississippi, while he awaits extradition to Harris County.
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