19 August 2023
PASADENA, Texas (AP) — A man suspected of sexually assaulting and killing an 11-year-old girl before stashing her body under her bed in her family’s suburban Houston apartment has been arrested, police said Saturday.
The 18-year-old man was identified as a person of interest Friday. The Pasadena Police Department said in a statement Saturday that since then, investigators were able to obtain additional evidence linking him to the death of Maria Gonzalez, and they arrested him in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Police said the 18-year-old will be charged with capital murder and is awaiting extradition to Texas.
According to KHOU-TV, Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger said investigators interviewed and collected DNA from the suspect the day Maria Gonzalez’s body was found, but said he wasn’t on their radar at the time.
The Gonzales family released a statement thanking Pasadena and Louisiana police for arresting the suspect.
“May he be burdened with the full weight of the law, for what he has done to my daughter,” the statement said.
Police have said that Maria Gonzalez had been home alone last Saturday morning when someone knocked at the door. The girl texted her father, Carmelo Gonzalez, who had just gone to work. He told KHOU that he told his daughter not to answer the door. Maria Gonzalez said she wouldn’t and would stay in her bed. But she didn’t answer his subsequent calls.
So Carmelo Gonzalez asked his brother and sister-in-law, who live in the same apartment complex, to check on his daughter, police said Tuesday. They found the front door unlocked and things out of place when they went inside. But they did not find her.
When Carmelo Gonzalez returned home, he searched the apartment and found his daughter underneath her bed, wrapped in a trash bag and placed inside a laundry basket. Police said the girl had been strangled to death and sexually assaulted.