The parents of a 3-year-old girl were arrested after police found the girl’s remains in a five-gallon container full of acid. Monica Dominguez, 37, and Gerardo Zavala Loredo, 32 told police their daughter accidentally drowned in the bath, and they used the acid to cover-up her death.
On February 14, police received a call from a neighbor of the couple about possible hazardous material at their apartment. Police worked with local the local fire department to secure the area and gain access into the apartment.
During a search of the residence, they found a 5-gallon barrel in a closet that contained human remains. When police questioned the mother, she told them her 3-year-old daughter, Rebecca, accidentally drowned in the bathtub.
Dominguez told authorities she left her daughter unsupervised in the bath. When she returned to check on her daughter, she found her non-responsive and dead. Instead of calling 911 for help, she called her husband to help her dispose of the body and conceal the death from authorities.
The couple purchased a barrel and acid and attempted to dissolve their daughter’s corpse in the acid.
Dominguez had a history of abusing her children and had previously lost custody of two of her kids. According to court records, she was on probation for another child abuse case.
In a press conference, the police outlined the case against the parents. Because Rebecca’s cause of death is yet to be determined, the parents have not been charged with murder. Police said they would be using a medical examiner and a forensic anthropologist to help identify her cause of death.
While the police sort out how Rebecca died, they charged the parents with evidence tampering, endangering a child and abuse of a corpse. In court, a judge set Gerardo’s bond at $175,000.00 and Monica’s bail at $150,000.00. Monica also violated her probation on the previous child abuse charges and could face additional punishment.
Additionally, immigration placed Gerardo on hold because he is not in the country legally.Neither parent has posted bond, and they are both in the county jail. Their remaining four children were removed from their custody and turned over to Child Protective Services.
Investigators say the case is on-going.
There are so many questions about this case that are difficult to comprehend.
If the mother had previous child abuse convictions, why did she have custody of the five children?
How did the girl die?
The story told by the mother seems hard to believe. Buying a barrel and acid to conceal a death doesn’t sound like an accidental death. Something more sinister is lingering underneath Monica’s story. Perhaps the medical examiner and police will be able to piece together Rebecca’s final moments.
With the case on-going, updates will be provided as they become available.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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