PASADENA, Texas (WJW) — A father’s worst nightmare is playing out in a Houston suburb after an 11-year-old girl was found sexually assaulted and strangled to death under her bed over the weekend, police reported.
The girl’s body was found Saturday afternoon inside an apartment she shared with her dad who had been at work. In a press conference Tuesday, Pasadena Police Department Police Chief Josh Bruegger said officers were called to the home at about 3 p.m. for reports that a girl wasn’t breathing. She was declared dead on-scene.
“Any time you have a death, especially a child, one that’s been sexually assaulted, very brutal,” Bruegger said in the press conference. “Obviously, it’s also taking a toll on our officers that were out there and made the scene.”
The girl was identified as Maria Gonzalez. She had reportedly texted her father Carmelo Gonzalez earlier the morning saying there was a person at the door knocking. Family checked in on the child, but they were unable to find her. It wasn’t until Carmelo came home that he found Maria hidden under the bed.
The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation due to strangulation, a medical examiner’s office said.
A homicide investigation is ongoing, and police said Carmelo is not a suspect in the crime as his alibi checks out. There was no forced entry into the home, police said. Anyone with information in the case is asked to reach out to police.