SODUS, N.Y. (AP) – A farm worker who authorities said admits to burying the body of his girlfriend – but not killing her – was charged Friday with having counterfeit citizenship documents and re-entering the country after twice being deported.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the criminal complaint against Everardo Donoteo-Reyes of Mexico as crews used heavy equipment in their ongoing search for his girlfriend’s missing toddler at an upstate New York farm.
Selena Hidalgo-Calderon and 14-month-old Owen Hidalgo-Calderon were last seen alive on May 16. The mother’s body was found May 23 on the farm in Sodus where she and Donoteo-Reyes worked. Law enforcement and volunteers have been searching for the boy ever since.
Donoteo-Reyes, also known as Alberto Ebarado Gutierrez-Reyes, was arrested on an evidence-tampering charge May 24 after a hunter’s trail camera recorded him carrying a shovel in and out of the woods where his girlfriend’s body was found, the Wayne County sheriff said.
A check of his fingerprints determined the 26-year-old was in the country illegally. Investigators found that he had a counterfeit alien registration card in the name of Alberto Gutierrez and a fake Social Security card, U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. said.
There was no immediate information on an attorney who could comment on Donoteo-Reyes’ behalf.
According to the criminal complaint, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Donoteo-Reyes in Gretna, Louisiana, in September 2016 and deported him in October. Five months later, in March 2017, he was arrested again in Laredo, Texas. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering the United States and was sentenced to 15 days in confinement before being deported again, the complaint said.
The new charges come a day after prosecutors and law enforcement met with relatives of Owen Hidalgo-Calderon to update them on the case, WHEC-TV reported.
The search area for the missing toddler has been expanded, but the team has dwindled from hundreds to a few dozen.
Owen’s grandmother hasn’t given up hope that he is alive, according to WHAM-TV. Estela Calderon said she wants to shower him with the love that she is no longer able to give her daughter.
Donoteo-Reyes is scheduled to appear in federal court in Rochester on Monday.
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