Austin Police are looking for the person who murdered 43-year old Samuel Davila and 39-year old Charlene Whipple. Their bodies were discovered inside a tent near the 12000 block of North FM 620.
Whipple's mother, Elizabeth Whipple, says the couple had been living in the tent after she and her boyfriend moved out of her house. CPS barred Charlene from seeing her three children unsupervised. She said both Charlene and Sam had struggled with drug and alcohol problems. Police records show the two had been arrested multiple times.
"She was very kind, heart of gold, she'd give you the shirt off her back," says her mother.
The children still live with Elizabeth and she said that her daughter wanted to be near them so she could see them for supervised visits. The couple lived in a camp roughly a mile or so from Elizabeth's Northwest Austin home. She says living in a tent is all they could afford.
Elizabeth Whipple says she had tried to get in touch with her daughter last week after Charlene didn't return her calls.
"Even if she was mad at me, she would call me," says Elizabeth. "She didn't call Wednesday night, she didn't call all of Thursday and I needed to talk to her about something, I went to leave a note," she says adding, "I knew where she roughly lived, so I found the camp and said i was about to leave a note, and I peeked into the tent," that's when she saw her daughter and Sam. "I couldn't believe it, I called wake up, wake up, wake, up, and they didn't wake up."
When Austin Police arrived, they confirmed what Elizabeth already knew, "you aren't supposed to bury your own children even if they are wayward," she says still shocked.
At first glance, Austin Police say it wasn't clear the couple was murdered. The Travis County Medical Examiner ruled the deaths a homicide after the autopsy. Austin Police say the area isn't a known transient camp but they have interviewed transient's who were in the area, but there are no suspects.
Charlene and Sam's friend Lori Nash says she hopes people won't judge the couple for how or where they lived, but how much love they had to give.
"They are good people, she comes from good people, and so does Sam," Nash says, adding, "he comes from good people, they are part of the church family."
Friends are organizing a garage sale to raise money for funeral expenses and to help the three children that Charlene left behind. A gesture that her mother says she is grateful for, "we are being blessed, people are reaching out, so loving, being so supported, I am not alone."
Austin Police are asking anyone with information about the murders to call their tip line: 512-477-3588. A reward of up to $1000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.