Police: Texas Dad Finds 11-Year-Old Daughter’s Body in Laundry Basket Under Bed

Plan Shoot / Imazins via Getty
Plan Shoot / Imazins via Getty

A child in Pasadena, Texas, was strangled to death at her home Saturday while her father was at work, and police are searching for the individual who took her life.

The victim was identified as 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez, who lived at an apartment complex on Main Street, KHOU reported Tuesday.

Law enforcement arrived at the complex that afternoon after her father, Carmelo Gonzalez, called 911 for help.

Gonzalez said he left the girl at home by herself that morning because he had to go to work. When he got a message from her informing him someone was knocking on their door, Gonzalez instructed her not to open the door to the person, and she said she would obey her father.

However, Pasadena Police Chief Josh Brugger said that was the last time Gonzalez heard from his little girl even though he called her repeatedly while they were apart that day.

At approximately 1:00 p.m., Gonzalez asked relatives who lived in the same area to check on the child, but they could not find her inside the home, the KHOU report continued:

Police said Carmelo Gonzalez got off work and made it home shortly after 3 p.m. That’s when he found his daughter’s body wrapped in a trash bag and stuffed in a laundry basket that was put underneath her bed. He called 911 and when paramedics arrived on the scene, they provided medical aid to Maria before pronouncing her dead.

In a news release, the Pasadena Police Department detailed the case and said the medical examiner concluded her cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation.

The girl had also been sexually assaulted, the agency explained:

Recently, our officers were dispatched to 1004 Main in reference to a child not breathing. Our officers, along with…

Posted by Pasadena Police Department on Wednesday, August 16, 2023

“Our investigators are diligently working on this case and will continue investigating this horrific crime,” the department stated.

Gonzalez is not considered a suspect because his alibi appears to be solid.

An official with Crime Stoppers in Houston told KHOU he is concerned the person who killed Maria may have been acquainted with her family.

“You knew she was alone, you knew all these elements and obviously you were prepared to do what you did just because of the way you left this young girl. So, there’s a lot of thought and a lot of planning that went into this,” he stated:

The outlet also noted Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward in connection with finding the killer.

“To be eligible for a reward, call 713-222-8477. You can also submit tips online or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app. Only tips and calls directly to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and eligible for a cash reward,” the KHOU article said.

Authorities have since noted there was no forced entry into the girl’s home and nothing inside appeared to be missing.

“What they did to her, oh my God. I’m in shock. This little girl, she’s like a little angel. How can they do that to her?” one neighbor told Fox 26:

“Hopefully you get caught,” the woman said straight into the camera, adding, “Whoever did this to her, hopefully you do.”

Those with information regarding the case were asked to contact Detective M. Quintanilla at 713-475-7803 or Detective S. Mata at 713-475-7878.


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