A Texas mom accused in her 2-year-old son’s mysterious death previously had half a dozen kids removed from her care, according to a lawyer representing the children.
Laura Sanchez, 35, was charged with injury to a child after her son Frankie Gonzales’ body was found in a church dumpster in Waco on June 2, KWTX-TV reported.
When questioned, the Texas mother allegedly told authorities a number of conflicting accounts and spun “several lies.”
Sanchez first claimed that she had last seen her 2-year-old son near a bathroom area in the city’s Cameroon Park. An Amber Alert was subsequently issued. However, an exhaustive search by a number of law enforcement agencies turned up nothing. Authorities later stated they suspected the child had never been in the park at all.
Michael Occasion, one of Sanchez’s children who'd been previously removed from her home, said he raced to the park where Sanchez claimed she had last seen the boy.
“When I got to the park ... I went up to her and I asked ‘Where is Frankie at?’” Occasion said last week, according to KWTX-TV.
But it quickly became apparent something was wrong.
“And she said she didn’t know,” he said. “And I said ‘What do you mean you don’t know?’" But she didn’t even want to look in my eyes so I knew Frankie wasn’t there.”
Sanchez allegedly also disclosed to one detective that Frankie had spent the weekend with her adult son. However, her own family determined “that was a lie,” according to an arrest affidavit obtained by local media.
She later allegedly confessed to relatives, KWTX-TV reported. Sanchez’s brother contacted law enforcement, and she was taken into custody shortly after.
Sanchez allegedly told authorities, “that Frankie was dead in a dumpster somewhere around 27th (and) Park Lake,” according to the arrest affidavit.
The boy’s body was later recovered from a trash receptacle located at a Baptist church’s parking lot in the city’s north end.
Investigators believe the boy died on May 28, KWTX-TV reported. Sanchez allegedly kept the child’s corpse in her home until May 30 before abandoning the body in the dumpster, according to Austin television station KXAN-TV.
Authorities haven’t yet specified how the child may have died. Autopsy results are still pending, however, law enforcement suspect foul play.
“Frankie did not die of natural causes,” police officer Garen Bynum said.
Sanchez will likely face more charges, particularly if the boy’s manner of death is ruled a homicide, Tom Needham, spokesman for the McLennan County District Attorney's Office, told KWTX-TV.
Prior to the 2-year-old’s death, Sanchez had six other children removed from her care, largely due to ongoing drug use and addictions issues, according to a lawyer representing the children.
“She not only lost custody, her parental rights were terminated, and that’s because the main part of that was neglect and drug abuse,” Waco lawyer Gerald Villarrial told KWTX-TV. “She was doing drugs during that time and couldn’t stop.
News of the toddler’s death devastated Occasion, the oldest of the six children previously relocated from Sanchez’s home.
“He meant the world to me,” he explained. “Ain’t no 2-year-old deserve this. I feel lost without him.”
Sanchez is being held on a $500,000 bond, online jail records show. The 35-year-old is being housed alone in a jail cell at Jack Harwell Detention Center for safety reasons, jail officials confirmed with KWTX-TV.
Sanchez is also facing parole violation charges in connection to the case. It’s unclear if she’s retained legal counsel.
She has a previous conviction for burglary in 2012, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
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