A Houston woman who police said stabbed her friend to death, stole the mother's six-week-old baby girl and tried to pass the infant off as her own was arrested on Thursday, the same day authorities said they had found the missing child alive.
"After a coordinated canvas involving the Homicide Division, the FBI, the SWAT team and patrol officers, detectives were alerted to a suspicious male and female holding a newborn outside building #32, possibly attempting to leave the area", Acevedo explained at a news briefing Thursday morning. Photos led officers to believe the baby was 6-week-old Shamali Flores. When Carolina was found dead, her daughter, Shamali Flores, was reported missing.
Police arrested Erika Jisela Miranda-Alvarez, 28, for allegedly killing Carolina Flores, 33, on December 19 in her northeast Houston apartment. He said Miranda-Alvarez continued to fake the pregnancy to her boyfriend and family after losing the pregnancy. Shamali, who was taken to the Texas Children's Hospital, is healthy with no signs of abuse.
Police initially believed Shamali was with her father, Thomas Bernardez, and a description of the father and his car was distributed to the public. "It was a very joyous occasion for all of us when we saw that little angel just sitting there that doesn't have a clue of what's going on", he said.
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Acevedo also acknowledged a "mistrust" from the immigrant community toward police and emphasized tips can be submitted anonymously.
The story is still developing. According to investigators, Miranda-Alvarez knew the victim through the victim's brother. "We don't know about their immigration status - but we know they are immigrants - because we are not interested", Acevedo said. He told police he was not involved in the crime.
"We want to make sure that people understand that our one focus ... our only goal is to bring justice to this family and that baby back to where [she] belongs", Acevedo said earlier in the investigation.
Carolina's family said she moved to the United States from Honduras about five years ago seeking a better life. Although we mourn the loss of her mother Carolina, we celebrate her recovery.
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