A man and woman were arrested at a U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Southern California Tuesday after Mexican officials discovered the body of a toddler stuffed inside a duffel bag the couple carried as they tried to enter Tijuana.
San Diego Police Department revealed Wednesday that on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016, that the couple was attempting to cross, via the pedestrian walkway, into Tijuana around 11:30 a.m. at the San Ysidro port of entry.
Mexican Customs agents saw them and sent the man, who was carrying the duffel bag, to an inspection point where the bag was x-rayed and the body of the deceased little girl, approximately two years old, was discovered.
Authorities said that the woman tried to escape by running but she was quickly apprehended. Both were arrested and deported back to the United States. The San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit now has the case.
The couple has been identified as Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, and Mercy Mary Becerra, 43, both of Whittier, California. It has yet to be determined if, or how, the little girl is related to the couple but it is believed that neither is biologically connected to her.
Both Hartley and Becerra were booked are facing counts of first-degree murder and child cruelty.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office has taken custody of the little girl’s corpse and an autopsy will be conducted to reveal the cause of death.