PENOKEE — Efren Lloyd Mascarenas Jr., a person of interest identified in an ongoing double homicide investigation, was found dead by authorities Thursday night in northeast Graham County, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. His cause of death has not been disclosed.
While the victims have not been officially identified, family members and friends have taken to social media in efforts to raise money to assist with funeral costs, identifying victims Lloyd Mascarenas Sr. and Christin Cantrell. The older Mascarenas was Cantrell’s father, according to a Go Fund Me account established late Friday.
A phone call to the KBI seeking further updates in the investigation was not returned as of Saturday afternoon. The names of the victims had not been officially released as of Saturday afternoon, pending positive identification and notification to next of kin, the KBI said.
First responders found a Hispanic male and white female deceased at 2756 170th Ave. near Penokee after a 911 call was made to the Graham County Sheriff's Office at approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The caller reported an unresponsive male.
Mascarenas, 29, was identified as a person of interest and considered armed and dangerous. A search continued through the night, with residents in several nearby counties urged by authorities to lock their property and stay inside.
Mascarenas has three convictions in Ellis County — two for aggravated battery — and one in Trego County for aggravated battery. The convictions in Ellis County date back to 2010.
He had spent time in correctional facilities in El Dorado and Lansing, and had been issued numerous disciplinary reports at the two facilities — including battery, fighting, dangerous contraband and assault.
The Graham County Sheriff's Office was assisted in the search by the KBI, Kansas Highway Patrol, Hill City Police, sheriff's offices from Rooks, Ellis, Phillips and Norton counties, and the Hays Police Department.
The Go Fund Me campaign, titled “Mascarenas Family funeral expenses,” is seeking to raise $15,000.
Donation buckets also have been placed at several Hill City businesses, an effort led by a local group of Hill City residents. The same group also is establishing a benefit account Monday at People’s State Bank, according to local resident Jessy Lovin. Funds are intended to help with funeral expenses and benefit the family.