LAVACA COUNTY, Texas (CNN/KSAT) - A grand jury will decide if a Texas father should be indicted for beating to death a man he said was molesting his 4-year-old daughter.
Officers said the girl's father caught the man in the act during what started out as a get-together on a small piece of land outside Shiner. Things turned deadly Saturday afternoon.
The landowner and grandfather of the child, who remained annonymous to protect the child's identity, told KSAT that his granddaughter and his 11-year-old son walked off to look at some chickens on the property.
It was minutes later that he said an acquaintance at the get-together took the girl out into some brush and attempted to molest her.
The 23-year-old father of the young girl then attacked the man, after learning what was happening. He punched the man several times.
"I jumped the fence, and I saw the man laying there," he said. "At that point, I didn't know if he was dead or not."
After suffering head trauma, the Gonzales man, whose name has not been released, died at the scene. So far, no charges have been filed.
"He was in defense of a third person, which would be his daughter," said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon. "He was just merely defending his daughter."
The girl was taken to a Victoria hospital and later released to her family. While the investigation continues, in the court of public opinion, many in this area are in support of the father.
"They feel like the father was justified in protecting his daughter," said Harmon.
"I mean any father, I would do the same -- probably 10 times worse -- if somebody would do that to my kid," said one resident.
Harmon said the little girl is physically OK but has some mental trauma. He also said her father is remorseful and didn't think the man would die.
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