Near Tennessee Colony, a small East Texas town, six members of a family on a camping trip were murdered. Among the victims was a six-year-old boy. A suspect has been arrested and charged with the murders. Sheriff Greg Taylor of Anderson County said that six bodies were found at the campsite, southeast of Dallas.
Authorities are charging William Mitchell Hudson, 33, so far with one murder count. Hudson is being held on a $25 million bond. It was not clear whether he had legal counsel.
The bodies of a man and a woman were discovered at 7 a.m. on November 15 in a travel trailer at a campsite next to Hudson’s residence, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. On November 16, four males were found dead during an afternoon search of a pond on Hudson’s property. One woman managed to escape the carnage. Among the bodies found in the pond was a six-year-old boy.
According to the Franklin Sun Journal, family members identified the remains of victims Carl Johnson, 77, and daughter Hannah Johnson. Among the dead were Hannah’s boyfriend, Thomas Kamp, and his two children. Also found dead was Hannah’s son, 6-year-old Kade Johnson. Cynthia Johnson, who was married to Carl, is the only survivor. After eluding the suspect, she fled to the nearby woods and then called police for help on the morning of November 15. Kamp's children remain unidentified.
The Texas Rangers, Anderson County District Attorney's Office, and Palestine Police Department are assisting with the case.
The Johnsons were formerly from Farmington, Maine. Sheriff Taylor said that the crime is “shocking” and the biggest murder case he has seen. Cynthia Johnson was taken into protective custody and was able to provide details of the horror to investigators. She was slightly injured in the attack.
Hudson did not have any relationship with the victims. Sheriff Taylor said Hudson had a record of violent behavior. "We handled him for assault within the last few weeks," Taylor said. "He was violent, but it wasn't of this nature."
Thomas Kamp and Hannah Johnson
The Johnson family said that the murders occurred on the evening of November 14. In a report by KLTV, at least one neighbor heard gunshots and screams from the property that that night. Sheriff Taylor said of the mode of death, "Possible shooting" of the two victims recovered on the morning of November 15. As to the others, he said that it is "unclear whether they drowned, or whether they were already demised when they went into the pond. We don't know." Authorities are conducting autopsies.
Carl Johnson was killed but his wife, Cynthia, survived after hiding in the woods from the attacker and later calling 911 from the road.
William M. Hudson
Hannah Johnson and Thomas Kamp lived about 100 miles from the murder scene, in Midlothian, Texas. Hannah Johnson was a graduate of the University of Maine and worked for an insurance claims company in Fort Worth. Carl and Cynthia Johnson were both former employees of the University of Maine at Farmington and had retired to Texas. Hannah moved there to be closer to them.
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