Search of area lake for gun used to kill mother, infant, comes up empty

(Photo by Brandon Hamilton)

LAKE BELTON, Texas (KWTX) Authorities Wednesday ended their search of Lake Belton for the gun used to kill a Central Texas woman and her infant daughter in 2017.

Department of Public Safety divers were searching the lake for a .22 caliber handgun, but the search came up empty, a source with knowledge of the investigation said Wednesday.

New information had surfaced in the case that led authorities to the Hidden Canyon Park area of the lake, the source said.

Valarie Martinez, 24, and her 1-year-old daughter, Azariah, were found dead at around noon on Nov. 5, 2017 near Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir east of Waco.

Christopher Paul Weiss, 27, was arrested in connection with the killings just after 5 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2017 after he drove off from his house in Temple.

He remains in the McLennan County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bond, charged with capital murder

The infant was found inside Martinez’s car, still strapped in her safety seat.

Martinez’s body was about 20 feet from the car.

Both had been shot in the head, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

A preliminary autopsy report confirmed that both died of gunshot wounds to the head.

Investigators questioned Weiss on the same day the bodies were found.

He told them he met Martinez at around 10 p.m. the night before at her apartment in Waco and then returned to Temple.

Later, though, he admitted that he lied and said that he returned to Waco from Temple to see her again, the affidavit says.

He admitted that he was in a romantic relationship with Martinez until last weekend of October.

On Nov. 6, 2017, while investigators were interviewing his sister, Amanda, Weiss called and his sister placed the phone on speaker mode, the affidavit says.

“Christopher admitted to lying…during his interview on November 5, 2017 and added he and Valarie talked about going to ‘TP&L’ or Trading House Lake,” the affidavit said.

“Christopher continued stating he would fail a polygraph test which he was scheduled and agreed to take but cancelled on November 7, 2017,” the affidavit says.

On Nov. 7, a forensic interview was conducted with a 9-year-old girl who said “that Valarie told her when Valarie left the residence she was going to meet Azariah’s father at the lake and took the 1-year-old child with her.”

The girl described the infant’s father as “the man with white skin who is Azariah’s dad and drove the white truck,” the affidavit said.

On Nov. 5 investigators interviewed a witness who said he saw Martinez and Weiss arguing the night before she was killed, the affidavit said.

Weiss, however, denied he argued with Martinez, the affidavit said.

Another witness said “at one point Valarie told Christopher she would make him pay child support if he was not going to be involved in the baby’s life.”

Weiss also denied that Martinez had asked him for child support and said she didn’t want it, the affidavit says.

Weiss told investigators he owned several guns including a .22 caliber revolver he said he kept in the tool bag in his toolbox on his truck, the affidavit says.

He said the pistol and the tools were stolen from the truck outside a Walmart store several months before the murders, but said he never reported the theft, the affidavit says.