Questions continue to surround the heavily tattooed Whittier, California couple who were caught trying to sneak the body of a dead 2-year-old girl across the Mexico border. Johnny Hartley, 39, and Mercy Becerra, 43, their faces covered with ink, tried crossing over to Tijuana Tuesday, but were stopped when Mexicans customs agents x-rayed the duffle bag which contained the toddler’s corpse. Hartley was held at the scene without Becerra, though she was caught a short time later. The couple was handed over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The identity of the dead child, how she died and how Hartley and Becerra came to be in possession of her body remain a mystery. San Diego detectives, who are handling the investigation, believe the couple are not the parents of the dead girl. However, they do believe the child’s death was a homicide. Neighbors in Whittier, California, located just east of Los Angeles, said the couple lived with a number of children, spanning various ages. Hartley and Becerra were both charged with one count of murder and child cruelty leading to death.
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