Police found a 6-year-old girl hanged inside her family's garage.
Authorities have made no arrests or named any suspects since Hannah Mack's body was discovered by her mother on Monday. They are saying little about their investigation.
"I will confirm that the hanging and sexual assault were part of this scenario," Navarro County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Mike Cox said.
Cox said several people have been interviewed and no one has been ruled out as a suspect.
"We don't want to do anything that would compromise a successful prosecution of this case," Cox said Wednesday before abruptly ending a brief news conference.
Neighbors in the rural lakeside community in east Texas are frustrated by the silence so far and worry that a predator remains on the loose.
In a letter to the sheriff's department, Navarro County Judge Vicki Gray said an autopsy of the body showed "a multitude of events that together caused the death of this child." No other details were released.
The girl was found in a garage in Navarro Mills Lake, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) south of Dallas.
"I'm just concerned about the kids out there," said Harold Hocutt, 75, a neighbor who knows the girl's family. "Little girls. Little boys. It's just something you don't forget. Every time I drive by (Hannah's house), I cry."
Police asked state caseworkers to not say whether Hannah's family had been investigated by child welfare officers, said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.