The Texas suspect who is accused of murdering and sexually assaulting 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez was denied bail last week.
Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, 18, was arrested in Shreveport, Louisiana and charged with capital murder on August 19. His bail request was rejected during a Thursday court appearance, according to FOX 26 Houston.
Maria’s father Carmelo reported that the last contact he had with his daughter was when she sent him a WhatsApp message on August 12 about someone knocking on their door.
“I told her, ‘Don’t open the door, because I am arriving at work,’ and she responded, ‘I am in my bed,’” Carmelo said to FOX 26.
The father arrived home at around 2:30 p.m. and told police that he found his daughter’s body under her bed. Her remains were put in a plastic bag and a laundry bag before being placed in a laundry basket under a bed.
“Unfortunately, they left her under the bed in a plastic bag. They left my poor daughter,” the grieving father told FOX 26.
Medical examiners concluded that the child died from asphyxiation via strangulation, according to Pasadena Police Department. There was also evidence that she had been sexually assaulted as well.
Authorities identified Garcia-Rodriguez as a suspect after finding his key at the murder scene. The suspect had moved out of a nearby apartment and refused to give back his key, prompting a new lock to be added – and the recovered key matched the apartment’s old lock.
Garcia-Rodriguez was last seen at the apartment complex at around 4 p.m. on Monday and fled to Louisiana after. FOX 26 reported that the suspect denied any involvement at first but later claimed that two males forced him to kill the child at gunpoint.
Authorities are actively investigating the incident. Anyone with relevant information is urged to call Detective Quintanilla at 713-475-7803 or Detective Mata at 713-475-7878.
Fox News Digital’s Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.