Authorities in Texas say that a father came home from work last Saturday and found his daughter dead and sexually assaulted under a bed in the apartment where the two lived for the last three months.
The Pasadena Police Department has identified the homicide victim as Maria Gonzalez, an 11-year-old girl who was strangled and had head and neck injuries from blunt force. Police Chief Josh Bruegger said at Tuesday press conference, “[a]t this point,” the girl’s father Carmelo Gonzalez has an “alibi [that] checks out, so he is, at this point, not considered a suspect in this investigation,” KTRK reported.
Police said that they responded to the Main Village apartment complex Saturday afternoon in the 1000 block of Main Street in Pasadena after receiving a call that Maria Gonzalez was not breathing. Sadly, the young girl with her whole life ahead of her was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Cops said that Carmelo Gonzalez left the apartment Saturday around 10 a.m. for work and had kept in contact with his daughter via text. The girl reportedly said in one message to her father that a person was at the door of the apartment and knocking.
“I told her don’t open the door because I am arriving at work, and she responded I am in my bed,” Gonzalez said, according to Fox 26.
According to Gonzalez, speaking in Spanish in an interview with KTRK, he asked family members who also lived in the apartment complex to check on Maria, but those family members did not see or hear anything at the scene (the girl’s mother is reportedly living in Guatemala). The father reportedly said that he arrived home five hours after receiving the text about the person knocking on the door. After that, he made the grisly discovery of his daughter dead in a plastic bag inside of a laundry basket under his bed.
“Unfortunately, they left her under the bed in a plastic bag, they left my poor daughter,” Gonzalez told Fox 26.
The father told KTRK that he doesn’t understand how someone could commit a crime like this and that he would not rest until his daughter’s killer is brought to justice.
Cops have yet to identify a suspect and did not find signs of forced entry to the apartment. Authorities are now urging the cooperation and assistance of anyone who may have seen something suspicious on Saturday morning at the apartment complex. It was suggested that cooperation has been limited because Pasadena undocumented immigrants fear deportation.
“I’m here to tell you immigration status on a case like this, that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is solving this case and getting the community safe,” Bruegger said.
KTRK reported that the feds are now involved in the case and that a “mountain of digital evidence” is being examined.
Police Chief Bruegger said that although there are cameras at the apartment complex, he didn’t know if those cameras — which may have been damaged by a storm months ago — were “operational” at the time of the murder.
“We don’t have a suspect at this point,” Bruegger said.
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Maria Gonzalez found strangled, sexually assaulted under bed
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