LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - According to Tyler County Chief Deputy Phil Ryan, Child Protective Services received a court ordered request Thursday evening to take custody of the 4-year-old daughter of a man slain in a Tyler County homicide.
The girl had been in the custody of her maternal grandparents. Ryan said sheriff's deputies supervised the entire meeting and CPS took the girl out of her grandparent's home for her safety.
Earlier on Thursday, Ryan said no sleet or snow will keep them from looking for the bad guy saying there are a lot of red flags in this case.
Funeral services for Nathan Bradley Maddox, 35, and Krystal Renee Maddox, 31, are prepared for this weekend and law enforcement says they will be on the hunt.
"We just want closure for the family. I mean no matter what anyone's motive was that was something that nobody had coming. It was a terrible, tragic thing that doesn't happen in our area and we want somebody in jail for it," said Chief Deputy Phil Ryan.
The couple was on a supervised visitation with Bradley Maddox's four-year-old daughter on Saturday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, which is located on CR 3725 near RR 255 in Tyler County.
In a previous story, Bud Sturrock, the chief investigator for the Tyler County Sheriff's Office, said the couple was leaving the church when the child and a mediator said they heard up to five shots. The mediator called 911 and was told to lock the church doors and stay inside until law enforcement arrived.
A justice of the peace pronounced them dead at the scene.
"It just takes the innocence of the community away when you think something that heinous could happen in Woodville, Texas or in Tyler County, I mean, it's just hard to believe," Ryan said.
Ryan says he cannot allude to who they are looking at as a suspect or suspects, but does say it was a targeted act saying it's not normal for a random person to gun down two people like this.
"I mean, especially in our area. I mean, it's not anything that you're ever ready for. I don't think this would be a random act."
According to nearly 300 pages of court documents the East Texas News discovered, Maddox and his ex-wife Kristen had been going through a nasty child custody battle.
"The child custody issue could have been a motivating factor in the shootings," Ryan said.
In October, Nathan Maddox filed a motion against the grandparents to modify the parent/child relationship, stating that the grandfather has a history of family violence. In the motion, Maddox said one night he visited his daughter and got into an altercation with the grandfather. He said the grandfather choked him and screamed that he was going to kill him before he pulled a shotgun on him. The motion was found at the Tyler County District Clerk's Office.
Ryan said the sheriff's office had responded to the incident in October but could not make an arrest because of lack of evidence. He said the family gave conflicting stories and there were no visible injuries. Tyler County authorities were getting the evidence together for the district attorney's office to present a grand jury.
In addition, Ryan said the reward for any information leading to an arrest or conviction of the suspect or suspects responsible for killing Nathan and Krystal Maddox has been increased to $2,000.
"We'll be forthcoming with as much as we can as soon as we can because especially if it's something that we need help and we do at this point. We need help…we need help from the community. People might not even realize that they saw something that was pertinent to this case but if they think about it—what they were doing on Saturday, anywhere in the vicinity, they may have seen somebody coming or going," Ryan said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tyler County Sheriff's Office at (409) 281-2172.