El Reno Homicide Suspect Arrested in Texas

Tuesday, January 13th 2009, 11:20 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

EL RENO, Oklahoma - The man suspected of killing an El Reno mother and her four children has been arrested in Texas.

Joshua Steven Durcho, 25, was arrested after he crashed his car in Hamilton County, Texas.

Durcho was treated at a Hamilton, Texas, hospital and released to a state trooper, who took him to jail, a DPS spokesman said early Wednesday.

Durcho was charged Tuesday afternoon with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Summer Rust, 25, and her four children. Each of the charges listed strangulation as the cause of death. The children ranged in age from 3 to 7, and each had ligature marks around the neck, according to an OSBI affidavit.

An El Reno police officer conducting a welfare check found Rust, daughters, Kirsten Rust, 7; Autumn Rust, 6; and Evynn Garas, 3; and son, Teagin Rust, 4, about 4 p.m. Monday, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Brown said investigators haven't determined a motive for the killings.

"We don't know if this is a domestic that went terribly wrong," Brown said. "We do know they had been dating for some time; don't know exactly how long, at least for several months. We don't know why he not only targeted the mother, but also these four young children."

Authorities discovered Durcho about 24 hours after surveillance video from a truck stop in Clinton, about 60 miles west of Oklahoma City, showed images of him and a white car authorities believe belonged to Rust.

According to court records, Durcho was convicted of car theft as a juvenile and was sentenced to four years in prison in 2003 for unlawful possession of marijuana. Durcho was released in February 2007, records show.

"He has been in and out of jail most of his adult life," Brown said.

Rust was a student at nearby Redlands Community College, where she was studying to be a legal assistant, school officials confirmed.

"From what I have heard, she was a very intelligent young woman and very well liked by her peers," said Meg Cannon, a spokeswoman for the college. "Obviously, we are going to miss her, and her family is in our thoughts and prayers."

Court records show that Rust and her ex-husband Jason Garas were divorced on Dec. 10.

Crystal Franklin, Jason Garas' mother, said she was devastated by the killings.

"I'm just numb, just not knowing what to think," she said. "The kids were just wonderful."

She said Rust rarely locked her door and helped neighbors when they were in need.

"Summer never met an enemy," she said. "She didn't have an enemy, just loved everybody."

El Reno Family Murdered

An account has been set up to help pay for funeral costs. If you would like to donate, please send donations to:

Canadian State Bank
Attn: Summer Rust Support Trust
220 S. Bickford Avenue
El Reno, OK 73036

Donations can also be made at the Lucky Star Casino.

A candlelight vigil will be held in honor of Rust and her children on Thursday at the Elizabeth Place Apartments at 8 p.m.