Police capture man accused of strangling 11-year-old Texas girl, leaving her body under a bed

Police capture man accused of strangling 11-year-old Texas girl, leaving her body under a bed


Police arrested an 18-year-old man Saturday in the death of an 11-year-old girl found dead under a bed after she was sexually assaulted and strangled, officials in Texas said. 

Maria Gonzalez had lived in the same apartment complex as the alleged killer, Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, before her death on Aug. 12, Pasadena police said. Officers interviewed and collected DNA evidence from Garcia-Rodriguez the day Gonzalez’s body was found, but he wasn’t initially on investigators’ radar, Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger said. Garcia-Rodriguez was identified as a person of interest on Friday and was located and taken into custody on capital murder charges in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is awaiting extradition to Texas.

Gonzalez’s father left for work in the morning on the day his daughter died. He communicated with the 11-year-old girl during the day via cellphone, officials said. Gonzalez messaged her father and told him someone was knocking at the door. He told her not to open it, CBS affiliate KHOU reported. She replied that she wouldn’t and that she’d stay in her bed. That was the last her father heard from her. 

Police released an image of Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez after they identified him as a person of interest. 

Pasadena Police Department

When he got home on the afternoon of Aug. 12, the dad found his daughter and called 911, saying she wasn’t breathing. The girl’s body was found inside a plastic trash bag that was stuffed inside a laundry basket and concealed under a bed. 

Investigators found a key in the family’s apartment and determined the key opened the door to the apartment where Garcia-Rodriguez lived, according to KHOU. He lived with others, but Garcia-Rodriguez’s roommates had their keys when they were interviewed by police.

In a statement, Gonzalez’s family thanked police for “bringing this cold-blooded murderer into custody,” according to KHOU.

“This arrest has brought the family and community some peace. We are extremely thankful that he cannot cause this type of pain to anybody again,” the family said. “I ask for those who are in charge to give us justice. May he be burdened with the full weight of the law, for what he has done to my daughter.”



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