Authorities are searching for a missing California man after his 8-month-old daughter was found dead behind a mortuary, still strapped in her car seat and partially covered with a blanket.
Investigators have named Alexander Echeverria, 22, as a person of interest in the young girl’s death and are now searching for the missing father who they say may be depressed, according to statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
The body of Alexia Rose Echeverria was discovered Monday morning in a dumpster outside the Bellflower, California mortuary; the sheriff’s office confirmed her identity Tuesday afternoon, KCBS-TV reports.
Alexia’s mother, Karla Alvarado, said that Echeverria old her he was going to drive to San Francisco with the baby to pick up his brother. She saw both Alexander and her daughter on a FaceTime chat on early Sunday, according to KABC, but he later called her crying hysterically.
"At around 4 p.m., he called me crying hysterically," she told the station. "He couldn't even talk, and I was super scared. I was like, 'What's going on? Did something happen to Alexia? Did you get into a car accident? What happened?' Cause there was a lot of noise in the background, and he couldn't tell me. He just kept crying and crying and crying, and I was like, 'What happened?'"
Alvarado, who had been living with Echeverria before the disappearance, also told reporters that she had spoken to a family member who had seen Echeverria before he disappeared and said he had been playing with his daughter in Sacramento and threw her into the air but she fell and didn’t wake up.
“He just left her there like she was trash or something,” Alvarado said according to KCBS-TV of how he left the body. “I just want them to find him. I want to know exactly how my baby passed away, why he left her there, why he couldn’t face the consequences.”
Investigators believe that the girl likely died in Sacramento before he brought her to Southern California, where he disposed of the body, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Det. Steve Blagg said during a news conference that it appeared the body had “no visible signs of trauma,” however investigators were only able to see very little because the body had been partially wrapped in a blanket.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has placed a hold on the case and hasn’t provided any details about any injuries the young girl may have suffered before her death.
Echeverria is believed to be driving a gray 2014 Volkswagen Jetta with California license plate number 7FFT866. He is described by authorities as being 5’6” and weighing 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He has been described as at-risk due to suicidal statements he made before the disappearance. Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact authorities.
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