Slain priest's son arrested in Mississippi, charged with murder

By Phil Archer - Reporter

The eldest son of a slain Houston priest was arrested in Mississippi and is the prime suspect in the brutal murders of his father, mother and their 5-year-old son.

Isaac Tiharihondi was taken into custody around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi, by FBI agents. Jackson police said he was arrested at the Diamond Motel on Highway 80.

Tiharihondi, 19, is now charged with two counts of capital murder. He remains in custody in Raymond, Mississippi, awaiting extradition back to Harris County.

Diamond Motel manager Amit Patel said that Tiharihondi checked in on Saturday and had been in room 207 ever since. Patel also showed KPRC2 some of Tiharihondi's receipts. They indicated that he paid for at least one of the nights at the motel with his father's credit card. Patel said Tiharihondi mostly kept to himself.

"I was surprised," Patel said of Tiharihondi's arrest. "Because every night was quiet.  That guy stayed three or four days (with) no trouble."

A friend of the family, Nancy Taylor, talked exclusively to KPRC2 and said Tiharihondi was a sweet person that everyone loved.

"There was absolutely nothing in his demeanor that was out of the ordinary," said Taylor "He couldn't have been more pleasant, more sweet, more fun." 

She says she took him out to lunch on what could have been the day after he allegedly murdered his family. 

"It makes you think there had to be something terribly, psychologically wrong," she said.

Crime scene investigators spent nearly two days at a west Houston apartment where Israel Ahimbisibwe, his wife, Dorcus, and their young son, Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr., were found dead Monday.

Church members went to the apartment in the 800 block of Strey Lane to check on the family after they failed to show up for services at the Redeemer Episcopal Church Sunday.

Court documents state the three bodies were found covered with blankets and towels in a rear bathroom of the apartment, with the child in the bathtub. Investigators said the pastor and his wife were beaten to death with a bat, lamp and hammer. The boy suffered stab wounds to his neck and back.

According to court documents, floor rugs inside the apartment were moved in such a manner to conceal blood stains throughout the apartment, and that there were signs the bodies had been moved or dragged.

There were no signs of forced entry, investigators said, and the only unlocked window was in a back bedroom used by Tiharihondi. The window was unlocked from the inside with the blinds closed and the screen in place.

The wallets of Israel and Dorcus Ahimbisibwe were found lying open on the floor and were missing credit cards, court documents show. An ATM receipt for an invalid transaction on Jan. 28 due to a wrong PIN entered was on the dining room table.

According to investigators, the last time anyone saw the victims alive was on Jan. 27.

Neighbors reported last seeing Tiharihondi on the property Friday evening. He had not been seen since. Investigators had been trying to locate Tiharihondi for questioning since Tuesday.

Tiharihondi allegedly told church members he was going to enlist in the Marine Corps, but Marine recruiters in Houston said there is no record of that ever happening.

Court documents reveal Tiharihondi's brother, who is in boarding school in California, told investigators when he last spoke to Dorcus Ahimbisibwe on Jan. 27, she told him she didn't believe Tiharihondi was being truthful about enlisting and that she and Israel were planning to talk to Tiharihondi about it.

Investigator said Dorcus Ahimbisibwe's cell phone hadn't been used since Jan. 28 and Tiharihondi's cell phone hadn't been used since Jan. 31.

According to court documents, an FBI agent spoke with a cab driver who stated she picked up Tiharihondi on Jan. 31 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and transported him to another location. She told investigators he had a temporary cell phone with him, and he tried to buy her cell phone from her, but she refused.

That's when the investigation led to Tiharihondi in Mississippi.

Autopsies were performed on the victims Tuesday.

A prayer service for the three victims is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Rice Chapel, and at 6 p.m. Thursday at St. John the Divine.

Stay with KPRC 2 News and for the latest details on this story.