Texas rangers have released a new sketch of the man suspected of shooting a young woman in the head and murdering her girlfriend while the two were on a date in a public park last month.
Mary Kristene Chapa, 18, who survived the attack, used sign language and writing to communicate with a forensic sketch artist to update the drawing of the man she thinks shot her and her girlfriend, Mollie Olgin, 19, on June 22.
Chapa regained consciousness just days after the attack and was able to provide an initial description of her attacker on July 4, according to local station KIII television.
A second drawing was released on Saturday, after Chapa said she wanted to revisit it with the artist, police said.
“It is unusual to go back and refine a suspect drawing,” Portland Police Chief Randy Wright told KIII. “But in this case, our eyewitness sustained a brain injury that initially affected her ability to communicate effectively.
“The good news is she has made exceptional progress. Her sight and speech have improved and she can now interact with the artist much better,” Wright said.
On the night they were shot, Chapa, of Sinton, and Olgin, a student Texas A&M Corpus Christi, had plans to go to a movie but stopped off at Violet Andrews Park in Portland, a small Gulf Coast town near Corpus Christi.
A hiker found their bodies the next morning in some marshy grasses beneath a scenic overlook.
Olgin was dead. Chapa was rushed to a local hospital, where family members said the damage to her face was so bad that they didn’t recognize her.
Her brother, Hilario Chapa, instead had to check her hands and feet in order to determine that the victim was his sister, MSNBC.com reported.
Bullet casings from a large-caliber gun were found at the scene, and witnesses at the park reported hearing what could have been gunshots shortly before midnight.
The witnesses didn’t report the sounds because they thought they could have been firecrackers, police said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, there was speculation that the two were targeted because they were gay.
Wright has said there was no evidence to support those claims, and the shooting was not being investigated as a hate crime.
The shooter was described as a white male in his 20s, 5 foot 8 inches, 140 pounds with brown hair and a scruffy beard.
The sketch released on Saturday shows him with longer hair and different facial features than the drawing released on July 4.
The FBI joined the investigation, and Wright said Chapa was working with investigators to create a timeline of the crime.
“She wants very badly to help us identify Mollie’s murderer,” Wright said.