Slain Houston family had Southern California ties

Published: Friday, Jul. 11, 2014 - 6:01 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Jul. 11, 2014 - 6:43 pm

A 15-year-old girl who is the lone survivor of a family massacre in Texas is herself a lifesaver, her grandmother said.

Cassidy Stay was grazed in the head during Wednesday's attack that killed her parents and four siblings. She played dead until the shooter left, then despite suffering a fractured skull managed to call 911.

She told police that Ronald Lee Haskell was heading for her maternal grandparents' home to kill more of her relatives, her family in California told the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Thursday (http://bit.ly/TW6uAL ).

Police located Haskell's car and arrested him after a three-hour standoff.

"She really saved some lives," Stay's grandmother, Joyce Stay, of Menifee, told the newspaper.

She spoke with Cassidy by phone Thursday.

"She said, 'My mom and dad are in a better place,'" Joyce Stay said.

A shackled Haskell collapsed in a Texas courtroom twice Friday as a prosecutor read aloud details of the crime. He was ordered held without bail.

Authorities have said Haskell was searching for his ex-wife when he went to the home of Stephen and Katie Stay in the northern Houston suburb of Spring. When the family refused to disclose her whereabouts, Haskell tied them up, including five children ranging in age from 4 to 15, put them face-down on the floor and shot each in the back of the head, according to investigators.

Katie Stay's father, Roger Lyon, said in a statement issued Thursday through the Harris County Sheriff's Office that his hospitalized granddaughter was expected to make a full recovery.

The family had lived in the Southern California community of Moreno Valley before moving to Texas a few years ago.

On Thursday, Joyce and Thomas Stay mourned the death of their son and his family on what would have been their daughter-in-law's birthday.

"They were just good kids. A good family," Joyce Stay said. "It's just so devastating."

Joyce Stay said the last the family had heard of Haskell, he was living in Southern California, reportedly wasn't eating and wouldn't get out of bed.

"The next thing I hear, I get a phone call that he's wiped out most of our family," she said.



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