Son accused of killing priest, mother, brother arrives in Houston

By Anoushah Rasta - Anchor/Reporter, Phil Archer - Reporter, Phillip Mena, Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - The teen accused of killing his Houston priest father, his mother and brother was successfully transported back to Houston on Monday evening.

Tiharihondi is facing charges in Harris County for the brutal murders of his father, Israel Ahimbisibwe, his mother, Dorcus, and his 5-year-old brother, Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr.  The family was found dead inside their west Houston home on Feb. 2.

The 19-year-old is now charged with two counts of capital murder.

Tiharihondi was taken into custody around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 4 in Jackson, Mississippi by FBI agents. He remained in custody in Raymond, Mississippi, while awaiting extradition back to Harris County.

"You have up to 10 days.  It's our thought process this morning that he will be picked up today," said Othor Cain, Hinds County Sheriff's Office spokesperson. "It's just sad and tragic, particularly because you are looking at a young man that's 19 years old and seemingly had his entire life ahead of him."


Jackson police said Tiharihondi was arrested at the Diamond Motel on Highway 80.

Motel manager Amit Patel said that Tiharihondi checked in on Jan. 31 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."

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 the apartment where Tiharihondi's family was found.

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. 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 the mother and father were found lying open on the floor and were missing credit cards, court documents show. An ATM receipt for an invalid transaction 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 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 Feb. 3.

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 Jan. 27 she told him she didn't believe Tiharihondi was being truthful about enlisting, and that she and Ahimbisibwe were planning to talk to Tiharihondi about it.

Investigators 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 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.

A prayer service was held for the three victims Feb. 5 at Rice Chapel and another prayer service was held that evening at St. John the Divine.

Community and church members are also coming to Tiharihondi's only living brother's aid. Seventeen-year-old Emanuel is enrolled in a California boarding school. 

"There are a number of people and organizations that have promised that his college will be paid for," Rev. Reagan Cocke, of St. John the Divine, told KPRC2. "Emanuel will be taken care of."

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has set up a fund for the Ahimbisibwe family. Click here for more information.

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