While neither parties have been publicly identified, authorities said the father killed the alleged abuser by repeatedly punching him in the head. A preliminary autopsy report lists the victim’s cause of death by “blunt-force head and neck injuries.”
Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said the girl was left inside the family home during a social gathering while other members of her family were tending to horses, CNN reports.
When the father entered the home, he claims he caught the man in the act and beat him several times in the head. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene, while the young girl was taken to a local hospital for examinations.
Harmon reported the girl as “OK besides the obvious mental trauma,” while her father was “very remorseful” not knowing that the man would die.
“You have a right to defend your daughter. He acted in defense of his third person,” said Harmon when asked about possible charges. “Once the investigation is completed we will submit it to the district attorney who then submits it to the grand jury, who will decide if they will indict him.”
According to Reuters, the father may be protected under Texas’ self-defense and “defense of person laws,” which are similar to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Without provoking the confrontation or committing a crime at the time, the law allows the use of deadly force against anyone “committing or attempting to commit…sexual assault,” among other crimes.