A father who killed a man with his bare hands after catching him raping his five-year-old daughter should not face criminal charges, a grand jury in the US has ruled.
Prosecutors said that the jury had decided that there was ample evidence that it was a justifiable homicide.
The prosecutors played a tape of the distraught father's desperate emergency call as he tried to save the man's life after realising what he'd done.
"I need an ambulance. This guy was raping my daughter and I beat him up and I don't know... I don't know what to do," he sobs into the phone, so overcome with emotion that he can't provide directions to his father's ranch.
"I need help. This guy is dying on me... oh my god... I'm going to try to load him up on the truck and take him to the hospital."
Under Texas law deadly force is both "authorised and justified" in order to stop a sexual assault, said Heather McMinn, a local lawyer.
"The five-year-old victim had sustained some physical injuries that were... consistent with all of the witness statements," she told reporters.
The father's lawyer said the family remains in turmoil.
"He's a peaceable soul and he had no intention to kill anybody on that day, but he has to live with that," V'Anne Huser said.
The family has no interest in speaking to the press and asked for privacy, she added.
"You can only imagine in the last week we have been dealing with a lot of emotions, trying to help a young child come to grips with the fact that bad things happen to little children by bad people."
The 23-year-old father was alerted to the assault by a person on the ranch who saw Jesus Mora Flores, 47, carrying the girl to a stable.
The father told police he ran towards his screaming daughter and began beating Flores with his fists when he saw the ranch hand on top of the little girl with his trousers and underwear pulled down.
Investigators said he "inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area".
Residents of the nearby town of Shiner applauded the decision.
"I think it's great, they should have given him a medal for what he did, defending his daughter," Leroy Wagner, 79, told the San Antonio Express News. "Who wouldn't have done that?"
Victor Casper, 65, a retired county worker, said, "If it was my kids, I would have done the same thing. I would have defended them, too."