FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KHOU) — Investigators say they are looking for one of the children of the Katy-area couple who was found murdered in their home on Thursday.
"I think it's a tragedy," said Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls on Thursday night. "Anytime you have a situation like this it's a tragedy. Things like this don't happen in Fort Bend County."
The sheriff's office said it was shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday when deputies were called to the Lake Pointe Estates subdivision, located in the 24900 block of North Point Place. Michael Walton, 54, and Lynda Walton, 52, were dead from gunshot wounds, and deputies said they found small-caliber shell casings at the scene. A weapon was not recovered. Officials quickly ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide.
Deputies said the couple's 24-year-old son, Derrick, found their bodies, conflicting with earlier reports that the youngest sibling discovered them. The Waltons also have three more children; a 28-year-old son named Donald, a 20-year-old son named Ryan, and an 18-year-old daughter named Shelby.
Ryan Robert Walton, 20, is the only one of the victims' four children that detectives have not been able to locate and question, authorities said. Detectives say there's no evidence tying Ryan to the scene right now, and they haven't learned of any major disputes between the son and his parents.
"We would like to know his whereabouts so we can talk to him. Of course we are concerned about his safety. We haven't been able to talk to him and knowing that his two parents are deceased, you think it would be something that he would be concerned about," Nehls said at a press conference Friday morning.
Authorities also said surveillance video from the entrance to the family's gated community provided them with more information, but they declined to comment on what the video contained.
Deputies also said there was forced entry into the home, but that it wasn't ransacked and it doesn't look like anything was stolen.
They said the Walton family is prominent in the community, and Michael Walton was a developer of the subdivision where they lived. Because of that, many in the community nicknamed the Walton home "The Governor's Mansion."
The father was known for being very active in the community.
"Very nice guy, really conscientious and into what he developed," said neighbor David Roberson. "I felt bad because number one, it's two lives lost and number two, it's in our neighborhood so that one kind of got to me."
"I didn't really know him very well. He seemed to be a pretty reasonable guy, would be out and about and used to give hay rides to the kids around Halloween," another neighbor said.
Neighbors are stunned to learn such a tragedy could happen in a place they considered to be a safe haven. The upper-class community is gated and guarded 24/7.
"This is a gated community and this has never happened here before, it's very shocking," said Syed Zaidi.
"I'm shocked because this is a very nice community, very family, I don't know," said Diba Zaidi, who was almost speechless after learning the news.
The couple's youngest child, Shelby, is due to graduate next week from Katy High School. On Thursday night, the school sent out a letter of support to her classmates and their parents.
"Many of our students may have been friends or classmates with the student affected, or have known the family," part of the statement read. "This is very sad situation for the family involved and our school community. We will continue to extend our thoughts and prayers to those most impacted by this tragedy as they begin the healing process."