A Texas man charged along with his girlfriend after authorities say the corpse of the woman's 5-year-old daughter was found in a closet in their home has turned himself in, but insists he had nothing to do with the girl's death.
Priscilla Torres, 27, of Houston, Texas was arrested last week for allegedly hiding her daughter Sierra Patino’s corpse inside a bedroom closet; authorities say she gave investigators contradictory stories about how the child died.
Patino’s body was found in the apartment on Sept. 2 after relatives were concerned by a foul smell coming from the home, according to The Houston Chronicle. The body had been there for days.
Torres has been charged with tampering with evidence involving a human corpse. Her live-in boyfriend Santiago Esparza Jr., 30, was arrested on the same charge Friday, Houston police tweeted.
Torres initially claimed she gave her daughter a bath and, after leaving the child alone for a few minutes, a bottle of toilet cleaner ended up in the tub with her, which burned her. She then allegedly told detectives that Esparza was the one to give the girl a bath with the door closed and that he refused to open, KHOU reports.
"Why would I give that girl a bath?” Esparza told KHOU in an interview from prison. "I didn't give that girl a bath. Would you let me give your daughter a bath? No, right? Then why would I give her daughter a bath?"
He went on to call Torres “a goddamn liar.”
When asked why she’d lie, he said, “I don't know. She's obsessed with me."
The results of an official autopsy of the child are still pending. Her body was reportedly found with chemical burns, redness and bruising.
Esparza is allegedly a gang member who has a long list of convictions, including one for hurting his own son, KDSK reports. However, he maintained he’s innocent in this incident.
"I turned myself in," he told KHOU. "I wouldn't be here if I was guilty. I'd be long gone. I turned myself in to face this because I didn't do what she said I did. I'm here to face all this."
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