Teen charged with capital murder in grandparents' deaths

KHOU 11's Lauren Talarico reports from Chambers County

CHAMBERS COUNTY, TEXAS - A 14-year-old Chambers County teen has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of his grandparents. 

The victims, both in their 70's, were found murdered in their bed late Tuesday. Investigators believe they had been dead since late Sunday. Police identified the victims as Sandra and Chester Bienek.

Around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from Barbers Hill Middle School. School administrators said they were on the line with a student who stated that there was blood on his grandmother, according to the Chambers County Sheriff. 

A deputy and EMS crew went to the home for a welfare check. In the back bedroom, they found the couple each shot once in the back of the head. They appeared to be sleeping at the time of the murders, the sheriff said.

Chambers County Sheriff’s investigators found no signs of a break-in or robbery at the couple’s home in the 1100 block of Cedar Gully Road in Beach City, where the teen lived with his grandparents.

Their grandson opened the door for authorities, and deputies say his demeanor raised eyebrows.

“I think just no emotion is probably the best term to give,” Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said.  “And (he) could not really give us a good account of anything.”

According to police, the middle school principal and an officer with the school district's police department went to the student's home Tuesday morning to check on the teen who had been reported absent Monday and Tuesday. Police say that the school has a "very proactive" truancy program and that the student's teachers were concerned due to classroom performance.

The principal and officer spoke with the student at the front door where he told them that he was sick. When they asked to speak with his grandparents, the student said that they were shopping and were not at home. The principal told the student to have his grandfather call the school when they returned home. 

When the school never received a call, they again called the student's home. Police say that when the child answered, he attempted to act like he was his grandfather on the phone. When the principal continued to press the boy, school administrators called police.

The teen has been taken into custody and is being held at the Hardin County Juvenile facility. 

Police say the motive is unknown. They believe that the weapon used belonged to the grandparents but it has not yet been found. The boy's mother and father have been spoken with. 

Beach City’s mayor lives two doors down from the family home. He said the couple kept to themselves.

“It’s tragic,” Mayor Billy Combs said. “It strikes close to home. We like to think it can’t happen in our neighborhood but it can.”

(© 2016 KHOU)


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