NEWTON — Four-year-old Zaylynn Paz and her 24-year-old mother Alyssa Runyon are dead following a homicide in Newton Tuesday.
“We grieve with the family,” said Eric Murphy, Chief of Police. “This is a horrific event, and there is loss to our community because of it.”
Newton Police was paged at 11:06 a.m. Tuesday to 15 Roanoke Court for a reported double homicide. The street is filled with 16 rental properties, duplexes maintained by the Newton Housing Authority, located behind the Dollar General Store located on Old 81.
When officers arrived, they found the girl and her mother dead. Paz died of stab wounds. Runyon was strangled. Both died in the bedrooms of their home.
“This was not a random act, this was targeted,” Murphy said.
One man, 19-year-old Keith Hawkins, was arrested at about 5:25 Tuesday evening near Taylor, Texas. Hawkins was involved in a chase, driving over spike strips before losing control and crashing into two vehicles and Christian Brothers Automotive in Hutto, Texas. He was driving the victim’s vehicle when he arrived at a family member’s residence.
Police are unsure of what type of relationship Hawkins had with the victims. He is a known person to law enforcement.
Murphy said there is no threat to public safety at this time.
An ex-boyfriend of Runyon called 911 this morning. He grew concerned when she did not answer her phone and checked on the pair.
This is the first homicide in the city limits of Newton this year. Murphy said it was the first homicide in the city limits in “several years.” However, this is the third multiple homicide in Harvey County, including a triple homicide in rural Newton, since October 2016.
Also responding to the scene were members of the Harvey County Sheriff’s Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.