PALESTINE, Texas – Six people, including a family of recent transplants to Texas from Maine, were murdered over the weekend at a rural campsite southeast of Dallas, and authorities said a suspect had been arrested in the case.
William Hudson, 33, is charged with one murder count and was being held Monday on $2.5 million bond. Prosecutors are expected to file additional charges. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.
WFAA-TV in Dallas identified three of the victims as Thomas Karp, his girlfriend Hannah Johnson, and her son Kade. KYTX-TV identified a fourth victim as Carl Johnson, Hannah's 77-year-old father, and a newspaper in Maine, citing the Johnson family, identified the two other victims as Karp's older children.
Authorities have released few details about the crime, including a possible motive or how the people were killed. However, KDFW reported that the bodies of a man and a woman were found inside a trailer and four other bodies, all male, were found in a nearby pond on Hudson's property..
WFAA reported that Karp and Hannah Johnson lived with Kade in Midlothian, outside Dallas. However, the station said quoted authorities who said Karp had recently bought the land where the killings took place about 100 miles southeast of the city.
"They bought land probably to camp – come to the piney woods to camp," Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor told the station.
Authorities said they received a 911 call Sunday morning from a woman who reported the killings. The Franklin (Maine) Sun Journal identified the woman who escaped as Carl Johnson's wife, Cynthia. The Sun Journal reported that Carl and Cynthia Johnson were former employees of the University of Maine at Farmington who had retired to Texas. Their daughter Hannah had moved to the state to be closer to them.
Cynthia Johnson is believed to have hidden while the killings took place before managing to make her way to a main road and call 911.
Hudson was apprehended at his mother's house, next door to his property. Authorities are not seeking additional suspects. Investigators say a motive for the killings was not clear since Hudson did not appear to know any of his victims.
Taylor said Hudson was picked up several weeks ago for a separate assault.
"He was violent," the sheriff said of Hudson, "but it wasn't of this nature."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.