NATIONAL NEWS

Police search for person who killed 11-year-old girl, left body in her suburban Houston home

Aug 17, 2023, 11:39 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — Police continued to search Thursday for the person who sexually assaulted and killed an 11-year-old girl before placing her body underneath her bed in her family’s suburban Houston apartment.

Police in the Houston suburb of Pasadena said Maria Gonzalez had been home alone at around 10 a.m. on Saturday when someone knocked at her front door.

The girl texted her father, Carmelo Gonzalez, 32, who had just gone to work.

In an interview with KHOU, Carmelo Gonzalez said he told his daughter not to answer the front door.

Maria Gonzalez said she wouldn’t and would stay in her bed. Carmelo Gonzalez said it was the last communication he received from his daughter.

“I kept calling and calling and she wouldn’t answer,” he told KHOU.

On his lunch break around 1 p.m., Carmelo Gonzalez asked his brother and sister-in-law, who live in the same apartment complex, to check on his daughter, Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday.

The girl’s aunt and uncle found the front door unlocked and when they went inside, they found things were out of place. They looked around but could not find her, Bruegger said.

Her aunt and uncle then began looking for her in the apartment complex.

When Carmelo Gonzalez returned home around 3 p.m., he searched the apartment and found his daughter underneath her bed. He told KHOU that her body was wrapped in a trash bag and had been placed inside a laundry basket. Police said the girl had been strangled to death.

Bruegger said the girl was sexually assaulted. He said investigators don’t have a suspect and the girl’s father is not considered to be one as his alibi checked out.

“We have gathered numerous amounts of evidence, which we will process and will ultimately help to rule out any suspects. To protect the integrity of the investigation, we are not releasing specifics on evidence obtained at this time,” Officer Jessica Ramirez, a spokeswoman for Pasadena police, said in an email Thursday.

Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

“We’re doing our level best to get out there and solve this crime. As a parent of an almost 10-year-old myself, it certainly is a cause for concern,” Bruegger said.

Maria Gonzalez and her father had been living in the U.S. for about four years after immigrating from Guatemala. They had been living in the apartment for about three months, Bruegger said. They had previously lived in Austin and in Florida. The girl’s mother and 7-year-old sister live in Guatemala.

Their apartment complex has a large Guatemalan population and because some are in the U.S. without legal permission, they have been reluctant to cooperate with police, Bruegger said.

“I’m here to tell you right now, immigration status on the case, it’s neither here nor there. The important thing right now is solving this case and getting the community safe,” Bruegger said.

Carmelo Gonzalez said his daughter was a good, quiet girl.

“They took away my girl, who I love the most,” Carmelo Gonzalez told KXLN in Houston.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on the X platform: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

National News

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at her campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Del., Monday, July ...

Associated Press

Democrats plan to push ahead with virtual roll call ahead of their convention, with Harris favored

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic Party plans to push forward with a virtual roll call in which delegates to its convention can choose a presidential nominee before they meet in person next month in Chicago, with Vice President Kamala Harris heavily favored now that President Joe Biden has abandoned his reelection bid. The convention rules […]

40 minutes ago

Associated Press

Safety regulators are investigating another low flight by a Southwest jet, this time in Florida

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials are investigating an incident in which a Southwest Airlines jet flew as low as 150 feet (45 meters) over water while it was still about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from its intended landing spot at the airport in Tampa, Florida. The pilots skipped over the Tampa airport and landed instead […]

51 minutes ago

FILE - A motorist passes by a flag of the Islamic State group in central Rawah, 175 miles (281 kilo...

Associated Press

UN envoy warns that threat of terrorism is `resurging’ with attacks by Islamic State extremists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The top U.N. envoy for Syria told the Security Council on Monday that the threat of terrorism is “resurging” with attacks by Islamic State extremists set to double this year, endangering civilians already facing a “protracted state of displacement and dire humanitarian conditions.” U.N. Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said Syria is […]

56 minutes ago

Police vehicles park outside a JCPenney as they respond to a reported shooting at NorthPark Mall in...

Associated Press

Local sheriff says shots fired inside an Iowa mall

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Shots were fired inside an Iowa mall on Monday, a local sheriff said. There was no immediate word on any injuries. Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane confirmed the shooting Monday inside NorthPark Mall in Davenport, an east-central Iowa city near the border with Illinois, KWQC-TV reported. Authorities haven’t said if there […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Founder & CEO, for California Forever Jan Sramek talks to reporters after a news conference ...

Associated Press

Silicon Valley-backed voter plan for a new California city won’t be on the November ballot after all

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A Silicon Valley-backed initiative to build a green city for up to 400,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area on land now zoned for agriculture won’t be on the Nov. 5 ballot after all, officials said Monday. The California Forever campaign qualified for the ballot in June, but a Solano […]

1 hour ago

Kimberly Cheatle, Director, U.S. Secret Service, testifies during a House Committee on Oversight an...

Associated Press

Conservatives use shooting at Trump rally to attack DEI efforts at Secret Service

As Congressional members on both sides of the aisle grilled U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle Monday on how a gunman was able to fire shots at former President Donald Trump in an assassination attempt, several Republican lawmakers seized on gender and the agency’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as among the reasons for the […]

2 hours ago

Police search for person who killed 11-year-old girl, left body in her suburban Houston home