Medical examiners announced on Wednesday, Nov. 6, that they could not determine the cause of death for the little girl whose body was found in her family’s bedroom closet in August.
Back in September, Houston police said that the family arrived around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 at an apartment in the 7800 block of Grow Lane and smelled a strong odor. Five-year-old Sierra Patino’s lifeless body was left in the closet for days while her mom and boyfriend stayed in the apartment, KHOU reported. They even took a trip to Galveston before calling the police, according to records.
Police said the woman admitted her 5-year-old daughter died after ingesting chemicals around Aug. 27.
Both Priscilla Torres, Sierra’s mom, and Santiago Esparza, the boyfriend, have been arrested and charged with tampering with a human corpse.
“It’s very troubling, no matter how the child died, whether it’s accidental or intentional death …for a body to be in the closet for several days, that’s unthinkable,” said Lt. Larry Crowson with Houston Police Department.
The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office said the case is now in the hands of law enforcement. Esparza’s next court date is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7. Priscilla’s next court date is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2020, according to KHOU.
WANTED: A warrant for the same felony charge of tampering with evidence is now filed against Santiago Esparza, Jr., 30. This is a 2016 booking photo of Esparza. If you know his whereabouts, please call HPD Homicide 713-308-3600 or @CrimeStopHOU 713-222-TIPS. #hounews pic.twitter.com/QEBxP8MjVv
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) September 6, 2019