A suspect in the deaths of a Newton girl and her mother was arrested in Texas, Newton police said late Tuesday afternoon.
Alyssa Runyon, 24, and Zaylynn Paz, 4, were found dead in their Newton home Tuesday morning.
“This has been a day of terrible sadness for our community,” a statement posted on the Newton Police Department’s Facebook page page said.
Keith Lane Hawkins, 19, was taken into custody in Taylor, Texas — near Austin — at about 5:25 p.m., Newton police said Tuesday night. Hawkins was driving Runyon’s vehicle when he arrived at a family member’s home, police said.
“At this time, we’re not sure what their relationship was, whether it was a friendship or something else,” Kyle McCaskey, public information officer for Harvey County, said Tuesday night.
Newton Police Chief Eric Murphy said Runyon’s ex-boyfriend found her and Zaylynn dead in their bedrooms of a duplex at around 11 a.m. The daughter had stab wounds, Murphy said. Police think her mother was strangled.
“This was not a random act,” Murphy said Tuesday afternoon.
Hawkins, who lives in Florence, has family in Taylor, Texas. Police had reason to believe he was heading to Taylor, McCaskey said, which is why they announced early in the investigation they did not believe residents of Newton were in any danger.
“They were tracking him,” McCaskey said of law enforcement officials.
Investigators are combing through evidence trying to answer several questions. It’s unknown when the mother and daughter were killed. The two live at the house, but Murphy said he is unaware of any others who live in the home.
No one else was in the home when police arrived, Murphy said.
Additional officers were called to assist in the investigation and suspect search, along with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Harvey County Sheriff’s Office.