HOUSTON - The bodies of three family members -- a Houston pastor, his wife and their son -- were found inside an apartment Monday morning in west Houston, according to Houston police.
Houston Fire Department firefighters found the bodies Monday morning at an apartment in the 800 block of Strey Lane, just south of Memorial City Mall, after concerned church members said the pastor and his wife did not show up at church on Sunday and couldn't be reached on Monday.
"He didn't show up for church yesterday afternoon, which is totally out of character for them not to let us know, and didn't respond to text or phone calls," church member Keever Wallace said.
Wallace and his wife, Brooke, knocked on the apartment door late Sunday but got no response. Brooke Wallace returned Monday morning and alerted an apartment manager, who opened the apartment to allow HFD firefighters to conduct a welfare check.
Houston police said the family of three was found dead in the apartment. Sources tell KPRC 2 that all three had been beaten to death. It's not clear how long they had been dead.
Police said there were no signs of forced entry.
The victims have been identified as Israel Ahimbisibwe, vicar of Redeemer Episcopal Church in Houston; his wife, Dorcus; and their 5-year-old son, Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr., according to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
The Ahimbisibwes were parents to two older children as well, according to church members -- both boys. One attends private school in California. The other graduated from Memorial High School last year.
Police are still combing through the apartment. The victims' bodies have not been moved. Monday morning about a dozen church members gathered outside the apartment to pray for the family.
"It's a shock," Keever Wallace said. "This is just a shock. I don't know how to make any sense of this at all."
"This is a horrific and awful tragedy," Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, said in a statement. "We are in touch with the police and Israel's family here in Houston. Please keep the Ahimbisibwe and Redeemer families in your prayers."
The diocese said Ahimbisibwe, a native of Uganda, was ordained in the Church of Uganda and held master's degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School. He earned another master's and doctorate from Rice University after completing graduate research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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