The man charged in the killings of six people at an East Texas campsite had earlier befriended the victims and helped dislodge one of their vehicles from mud, a sheriff said Tuesday.
William Hudson, 33, spent time with the group Saturday and then returned hours later and killed them all, though authorities have not said how, Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor said. Taylor declined to elaborate on the attack or a motive, but said Tuesday that there were "several different crime scenes."
The victims were part of a blended family that had come from as far away as California for a weekend together to camp on wooded land that 46-year-old Thomas Kamp had purchased in August, according to Steven Woodruff, who was Kamp's uncle.
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The land was adjacent to property owned by Hudson and his family about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, Taylor said.
Kamp had lived for several years in Midlothian, south of Dallas, with Hannah Johnson, 40, and her 6-year-old son Kade. They were joined last weekend by Johnson's parents, Carl and Cynthia Johnson, and Kamp's two sons from a previous marriage, Nathan and Austin Kamp, who were California residents. The family also was celebrating Nathan Kamp's 24th birthday.
Cynthia Johnson escaped the attack and hid in woods before calling 911 for help.
"Nothing can describe the pain and sorrow of the remaining family members," Woodruff told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Two of the victims were found by sheriff's deputies in a travel camper. The other bodies, including Kade's, were later pulled from a pond about a half-mile away.
"I've been in law enforcement for 31 years and I've never seen anything like this," Taylor said.
One of Hannah Johnson's friends, Michael Gilbert, said she grew up and attended school in Maine and later lived in suburban Boston before moving to Texas to be closer to her parents, who had retired there.
"She loved it down there and was really happy," he said in a phone interview, adding that she found a job she liked with an insurance company in Fort Worth.
Gilbert said she enjoyed camping and about a year ago bought an Airstream travel camper that she had long coveted.
It wasn't clear if two of the bodies found Sunday morning were discovered in that camper or one owned by Johnson's parents.
Hudson is charged with one count of murder, and more are pending. It was not clear whether Hudson, who's being held on $2.5 million bond at the Anderson County jail, had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.
Hudson was apprehended at his mother's house, next door to his own home.