The search for 10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco met a tragic end Saturday night, as law enforcement officials swarmed a small house outside of Bullard in an effort to recover her body.
Shortly before 7 p.m., Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell confirmed remains were found and believed to belong to Kayla, but he did not confirm where. He said the family was notified.
A Facebook page created to share news about Kayla - “Help find Kayla” - confirmed the little girl was found deceased and asked for the public to continue praying for the family.
She had been missing for four days.
“Please remember that there is a family involved, and respecting this family who’s in more pain than you imagine needs to be considered first and foremost,” a post read. “Please focus your efforts on prayer and comfort for this family.”
Kayla, who attended Jack Elementary School in Tyler, went missing following a Tuesday church service in Bullard.
Since then, there has been a constant large-scale effort to find and bring her home. State and federal officials including the U.S. Marshals, FBI and Texas Rangers have assisted a host of local law enforcement agencies in East Texas in the case.
More than 500 East Texans volunteered to help with a widespread ground search for Kayla, but officials said that effort did not point them to her remains. They were found independent of the volunteer search.
Campbell did not identify any suspects or details other than a body was found. He said a press conference would be called on Sunday afternoon to give more details to the public.
Although Campbell did not confirm where the body was found, there was a heavy police presence beginning about 6 p.m. Saturday at a small home a few miles north of Bullard in the 2200 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2493, also known as Old Jacksonville Highway.
Just before dark, police surrounded the home and blocked off its entrance. The house sits about 4 miles from where Kayla disappeared at Bullard First Assembly Church on U.S. Highway 69.
As daylight faded, a large trailer with a towering and bright light was placed behind a shotgun home resting atop cinderblocks. The house was in the middle of a row of three with a dirt driveway connecting the trio. The bright light was visible from the front of the house as flashlights from police circled in the distance.
Law enforcement also checked what appeared to be a water well to the side of the home, but did not confirm if she was found there.
A Tyler Fire Department trailer was brought into the scene before 8 p.m. as officials from Cherokee and Smith County Sheriff’s Office maintained a crime scene border around the group of homes.
Around 9 p.m., an EMS ambulance was allowed to pull up next to the home and left shortly after with darkened windows.
As law enforcement did their jobs, a group of concerned people slowly formed across from FM 2493. Huddled in groups, wearing jackets, the people stared at the scene and its flashing lights from afar.
There was very little speaking.