ATHENS, Texas (KETK) – A 14-year-old boy is in police custody and charged with murder after his sibling was fatally shot in the head.
Authorities identified the victim as 8-year-old Zayden Worley. On Jan. 29, the sheriff’s office got a call that Worley had been shot in the head on CR 2911. Upon deputies’ arrival, they found the child laying on the back porch with subjects attempting life-saving measures.
It was reported that the child was on the back porch when a stray bullet from a wooded area struck the child. Investigators immediately began searching the area and speaking with neighbors. There were three juveniles at the residence alone when the shooting happened, ages 14, 7 and 8.
“What we were initially told is that Zayden was on the back porch looking at some deer, they heard a gun shot and Zayden fell,” said Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, Henderson County.
Zayden passed away at a children’s hospital in Dallas. An autopsy was conducted by Southwestern Institute on Forensic Science in Dallas.
The blame was initially placed on a stray bullet that allegedly came from a wooded area, but Sheriff Hillhouse says the evidence and autopsy were not adding up.
“The blood stain where Zayden had fell and the pattern of the blood stain was there. The way we were told he was facing, the elevation of the wood line and the wood line was a very thick wood line,” said Hillhouse.
A search warrant for the property was issued.
“Investigators have continuously worked this case and the physical evidence recovered from the scene and autopsy show the initial report of how this happened is not possible,” Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said.
He also said that they were unable to determine that anyone had been hunting, especially in the direction that officials were told the shot came from.
Upon further investigation of the scene and autopsy report, indications led investigators to a small caliber firearm. A gun that matched that description was found on the property.
Officials say that further conversation with the neighbors led to the arrest of the 14-year-old Wednesday morning. He is now at the Longview Juvenile Detention Center.
Sheriff Hillhouse said he anticipates that charges will be brought against the children’s guardian. Texas law makes it illegal to store an unsecured firearm in a place where children can access it.
The sheriff’s office is being assisted in the investigation by the Henderson County Attorney’s Office, Henderson County District Attorney’s Office, Texas Rangers, Texas State Game Wardens, the Children’s Advocacy Center and Child Protective Services.