Two weeks after a Wharton woman was killed, her brother has been charged with murder. 

Wharton police officers served the warrant Thursday while 21-year-old Julio Sesar Paniagua of 417 Davis in Wharton sat in the Wharton County Jail, already facing a tampering with evidence charge in the case. 

His sister, 19-year-old Stephanie Paniagua of the same address, was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound June 7. 

That day, Wharton police officers were dispatched to a shots fired call in the 400 block of Davis around 3 p.m. Sunday and soon found Paniagua.

That day, an unidentified witness allegedly told police a man wearing all black, including a black COVID mask, was seen running out of the home.

WPD, with assistance from the Texas Rangers, interviewed witnesses and tracked down Julio Paniagua.

He has been held in county jail since June 11, now facing a murder charge in addition to tampering. His bond rose from $100,000 to $400,000.

Investigation continues with Wharton PD asking anyone with information on the case to call 979 532-3131 or reach out anonymously at

The shooting is the first murder in the Wharton city limits since November 2009.

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