The search for a weapon used in the shooting deaths of a young mother and her baby daughter turned up empty after two days of looking in and along the Brazos River, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Wednesday.
Deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety officials, Texas Rangers and game wardens searched Tuesday and Wednesday for a .22 caliber revolver officials believe was used to kill Valarie Martinez, 24, and her daughter, Azariah, 1. Their bodies were found Nov. 5 near Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir. Martinez was shot in the head outside a car, and her daughter was shot in the head while still in her car seat in the vehicle.
Officials searched for the gun in the Brazos River, near Loop 340, before searching the surrounding wooded areas, McNamara said. They called off the search late Wednesday afternoon with no trace of the weapon found.
“We are very grateful for the DPS dive team, and they were professional in every way,” McNamara said. “They put in a lot of hours, but we are still going to follow up on other leads. Everyone did a fantastic job working together.”
Deputies were called to a park site at Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir on Nov. 5, where Martinez and her daughter were found dead. Investigators later alleged Christopher Paul Weiss, 26, of Temple, met Martinez near the waterfront park the night of Nov. 4 and was the last person seen with her alive.
Weiss was arrested Nov. 7 by deputies, Temple police, Bell County Sheriff’s Office officials and Texas Rangers when Weiss and his wife were spotted driving in Temple. He is charged with capital murder and remains in McLennan County Jail with bond listed at $1 million.
Investigators believe Weiss is Azariah’s father, and Martinez told him she may start seeking child support payments from him, according to an arrest affidavit. Weiss and Martinez had been arguing before Martinez followed Weiss out to the park site the night before her body was found, a witness told authorities.
According to the affidavit, Weiss “reluctantly admitted to owning a .22-caliber revolver” and told investigators he kept his revolver in his truck. He said the gun and a tool bag were stolen from his truck several months ago and he never reported the thefts, the affidavit states.