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Man arrested, charged with murder of 11-year-old Texas girl

Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, 18, was arrested in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Man arrested, charged with murder of 11-year-old Texas girl
Posted at 3:38 PM, Aug 18, 2023

A man was arrested and charged with the murder of 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez. 

Her body was found on Aug. 12 under a bed at an apartment in Pasadena, Texas, where she and her father had been staying. 

Police announced announced on Saturday that they arrested 18-year-old Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, who was initially named as a person of interest in the case. He was located in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is awaiting extradition to Texas. Police said additional evidence allowed them to charge Garcia-Rodriguez with murder.  

Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger said on Friday that a key was found near the child's remains, and it accessed a door at a nearby apartment where Garcia-Rodriguez was staying. 

The suspect reportedly told his two roommates that he was leaving last week. When they asked for the key back to the apartment, Bruegger told them that he was going to keep it. 

"He didn't have the key," Bruegger. "The key to that apartment was in the victim's apartment."

SEE MORE: 11-year-old girl who was left home alone killed in 'brutal' attack

Bruegger said Garcia-Rodriguez is from Guatemala and entered the country at the El Paso border in January. He reportedly spent time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, prior to moving to Pasadena. 

The 11-year-old girl's death was met with shock by many in the community. Bruegger noted that responding officers were distraught after visiting the gruesome scene where the girl was sexually assaulted and placed in a trash bag. 

Maria had reportedly communicated with her father moments after he left for work, leaving him a message that there was a stranger at the door. That was reportedly the last communication he had with Maria. He found her body when he returned to the apartment. 

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