It will take until mid-November before additional DNA test results are returned in the capital murder case of Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, the man accused of killing 10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco in November 2016.
That means the trial won't start Oct. 8 as previously scheduled.
A Department of Public Safety evidence analyst testified Thursday in a pretrial hearing in the 241st District Court that the lab is working with more than 400 hairs gathered from clothing items of the victim and suspect.
A DPS trace analyst will determine which hairs will produce the best DNA results, a process that could take about 30 days.
Once that determination is made, those hairs will be tested for DNA. Both sides believe the DNA test of the best hairs will determine if more hairs require DNA testing.
The defense and state agreed to have an initial batch of 24 hairs tested by the lab.
The DPS lab needs about 60 days to do the DNA testing and another 30 days to write the report on the findings.
The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16, and 241st District Court Judge Jack Skeen said he would know then whether the scheduling order would need to be altered.
Skeen also said he would hold off on sending out jury summonses that were scheduled to go out at the end of July.
The last time Zavala-Garcia, 26, was in court was for a May pretrial hearing, during which a DPS evidence analyst testified it would take about two months to prepare evidence gathered from clothing of the victim and the suspect.
Zavala-Garcia is accused of killing Kayla in November 2016. He was related to her by marriage and was among the last people to see her before she went missing Nov. 1, 2016, from the foyer of Bullard First Assembly on U.S. Highway 69.
Her body was found four days later in a well on the property where Zavala-Garcia lived, in the 22100 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2493 (Old Jacksonville Highway) in Bullard.
It is unclear what exactly caused her death, and at the time the indictment was released, District Attorney Matt Bingham declined to comment, citing the restrictive and protective order in the case.
In the indictment, prosecutors contend Zavala-Garcia attacked Kayla and sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault her after her kidnapping.
Prosecutors also contend he struck Kayla with and against a blunt object, asphyxiated her and drowned her.