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Houston man charged after body of girl, 5, found in closet

Posted at 9:52 PM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 22:52:40-04

HOUSTON (AP) - Police have filed a charge of tampering with evidence against the boyfriend of a woman whose 5-year-old daughter was found dead in a Houston apartment closet.

Houston authorities announced the charge Friday against 30-year-old Santiago Esparza Jr. and police later took him into custody.

The same charge was filed Tuesday against 27-year-old Priscilla Torres. The body of her daughter, Sierra Patino, was found in the closet Monday and authorities say the girl died six days earlier.

Prosecutors said at a preliminary court hearing for Torres on Thursday that she gave different accounts of what happened to Sierra. At one point she allegedly told investigators that Esparza bathed the girl and Torres later found chemical burns on Sierra's limbs and bruising on her head.

Prosecutors say after Sierra died, the couple left Houston for a few days and Torres notified police when she returned.

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