Killer targeted Angleton couple in their home as children played nearby on Halloween, police say

ANGLETON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gruesome new details are emerging in the murder of a couple in Angleton on Halloween.

Police say Paula Ayala and her common-law husband, Ron Thomas, were shot to death inside their home in the 300 block of Rice Street Sunday evening.

"Paula was my older sister, and she was just so loving and caring," said Ayala's sister, Samantha Castaneda. "Always happy and smiling. The life of the party, you know? She never harmed anybody. She never had any bad words to say about anyone."

Ayala, who just turned 50 in September, leaves behind two children and five grandchildren. Her family says she and Thomas, who is 71, have been together for five years.

"They were happy. They loved each other. It's just tragic for both of them to have lost their lives this way," said Castaneda.

Family members are stunned by the violent killing on a residential street in broad daylight. Police say the shooter walked into the home as children were playing outside nearby.

"And there were lots of kids in the neighborhood that day because it was Halloween," said Castaneda.

It was just before 5:30 p.m., when a 6-foot tall man in an all-black and yellow face mask went inside the home, investigators said.

Neighbors say at least one child heard the gunshots ring out.

"I spoke to that child myself and she told me things. And to see her say what she saw, horrifying," said Castaneda.

Police say the killer got away in a dark-colored SUV with chrome accessories. Investigators have not released a motive, but said this appears to be a targeted attack against a couple, whose family said were both considered disabled.

"She was a good person. She was a loving person, she helped everybody. There were no strangers for her," said Ayala's mother, Dora Nieto.

Nieto is begging for someone to share information to help find the killer.

"Please come forward. Don't be cowards because y'all could save other lives, because these people don't have regard for human lives," said Nieto.

Brazoria County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest. You can call anonymously at 1-800-460-2222.

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