CONVERSE, Texas – The father of the suspect in the violent and now deadly attack on a 25-year-old former teacher offered a tearful apology Tuesday to the victim's family members, who live out of state.
"Our whole family's heart goes out to them. She was such a sweet, sweet girl. I'm sorry this happened," said Mark Stanush, whose voice was choking with emotion. "It doesn't make any sense to me."
His son, Ryan Stanush, 28, is being held under $100,000 bond in the Bexar County Jail charged with aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.
Lt. Jeff Shook, of the Converse Police Department, said the charge against Ryan Stanush will likely be upgraded, pending a ruling by the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office.
"If it says the cause of death was homicide, obviously we're going to move forward with a murder charge," Shook said. "This type of vicious attack on someone you allegedly love just doesn't make sense."
Shook said Ryan Stanush appeared to be someone who worked out, and was much taller than the victim, Dorinda Ma, who he described as petite.
Shook said it didn't take long for medical personnel, including physicians, in the emergency room at Northeast Methodist Hospital to reject Ryan Stanush's initial claim that the injuries were the result of rough sex.
"That type of behavior, right, wrong or indifferent, was not consistent with the major trauma our victim had," Shook said.
Shook said Ma was unresponsive after Ryan Stanush brought her to the hospital Friday night. Shook said soon after that, a neurologist said Ma was brain dead. But Shook said Ma wasn't taken off life support until Saturday night.
Shook said police believe her death was the result of domestic violence.
Ma had resigned last month as a high school English teacher in the Rio Grande Valley, according to Daniel Trevino Jr., superintendent of the Mercedes Independent School District.
In a statement, Trevino said the district is struggling with the loss of a teacher who was "loved and respected by the students and her peers."
Trevino said Ma had been with the district for more than two years as part of Teach for America. He said the program enrolls teachers from across the world and assigns visiting teachers to school districts throughout the United States.
Trevino said he and many others in the district are praying for Ma's family.