Man accused of killing Kayla Gomez has bond set at $10 million


The accused murderer of Kayla Gomez-Orozco, 10, is being held on $10 million bond.

According to Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, of Bullard, is charged with capital murder. He was booked into the Smith County Jail on an ICE detainer on Sunday and charged with capital murder on Monday.

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday evening there will be a joint press conference with Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith and Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell. The Tuesday presser will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Courthouse. 

Authorities found the little girl in a well off the 22000 block of Old Jacksonville Highway on Saturday night. She disappeared on the evening of Tuesday, November 1, from Bullard First Assembly Church during a prayer service. The scene where Kayla was found is about three miles from where she went missing.

Kayla was still in the clothes she was last seen wearing when Tyler Fire crews helped recover the body.

A law enforcement source told KETK the suspect had previously been deported in 2014, following an arrest and 30 day jail sentence for an assault family violence charge. 

Family members said Zavala is a cousin who “acted like an uncle to Kayla.”

A motive in the homicide has not been released. A timeline is still being pieced together by investigators.

Kayla’s body was sent for autopsy on Saturday. The preliminary autopsy was returned on Monday as pending. This includes the manner of death, toxicology, histology and investigation. Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Judge Mitch Shamburger said it could take up to a month or longer for a complete autopsy to be returned. An exact timetable is unknown. The body has been released back to the Stewart Family Funeral Home.

Funeral services were announced Monday:


6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Stewart Family Funeral Home at 7525 Old Jacksonville Highway.


2 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home on Tuesday

Donations can be made in Kayla’s memory to a Kayla’s Fund Account at First Bank & Trust East Texas.

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