PASADENA, Texas (TCD) — Police are investigating a homicide and searching for a suspect after an 11-year-old girl was killed over the weekend while her father was at work.
In a press conference, Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger said officers were called to an apartment complex on Main Street on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 3:07 p.m. after receiving a call about an unresponsive girl. Paramedics arrived at the scene and pronounced the 11-year-old girl deceased.
Pasadena Police detectives started investigating the circumstances around the girl’s death and learned from the autopsy that she was strangled to death and had been sexually assaulted. Her manner of death was ruled a homicide.
KHOU-TV identified the girl as Maria Gonzalez.
According to Bruegger, Gonzalez and her father were from Guatemala and lived in the apartment together, but other relatives resided in the same building. Her father reportedly left for work at around 9 a.m., and the two stayed in contact via text and voice messages. About an hour later, Gonzalez texted her father to say there was someone knocking at their door.
Their communication ceased after that.
The father reportedly asked the girl’s aunt and uncle who also lived in the complex to go check on her. They did a “cursory check and weren’t able to locate her.”
Eventually, her father came home at approximately 3 p.m. and discovered his daughter’s body concealed under a bed. She was wrapped in a sheet and put in a laundry basket, according to KHOU.
Bruegger said Gonzalez’s father’s “alibi checks out,” so he is not considered a suspect at the moment.
Investigators are combing through physical and digital evidence and continue to search for a suspect.
TRUE CRIME DAILY: THE PODCAST covers high-profile and under-the-radar cases every week. Subscribe to our YouTube page for podcasts, exclusive videos, and more, and don’t forget to follow us on TikTok.