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Police in search of witnesses after 11-year-old Texas girl found strangled and stuffed under bed

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The police in Pasadena, Texas, are currently searching for witnesses who might have details about the murder of 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez, who was found dead by her father in their apartment on Saturday.

Josh Bruegger, Pasadena police chief, said during a press conference on Tuesday that Maria sent a text to her father around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, telling him there was someone knocking on the door. The father, Carmelo Gonzalez, told KRIV that he told her not to answer the door because he was working. When he sent relatives to check on Maria, they discovered the apartment door unlocked, with no sign of the girl.

Pasadena police share details about 11-year-old sexually assaulted, strangled inside her homewww.youtube.com

Gonzalez reportedly found Maria's body inside a laundry basket beneath his bed. Officers stated they received a call from Gonzalez around 3 p.m. on Saturday, claiming his daughter was not breathing. Officers responded to the scene, at 1004 Main Street in Pasadena, where Acadian Medics provided medical attention to Maria.

"We don't have any other crimes like this, but obviously that's a concern because this clearly [is] a very violent crime," Bruegger said. He went on to suggest that it was "awfully suspicious" that someone knocked on the door just 30 minutes after Maria's father left for work, seeming to suggest that someone knew she was home alone. He noted the door was unlocked, with no signs of a break-in.

The Pasadena Police Department released a statement on Wednesday, suggesting the cause of death was "asphyxiation due to strangulation." The release also noted that there was evidence that the "victim was sexually assaulted."

Gonzalez was cleared as a suspect by investigators on Thursday, and no arrests have yet been made in the case. Bruegger said the "very brutal" case is important and has shaken the department.

Gonzalez and his daughter were from Guatemala, living in an apartment complex that includes a close-knit Guatemalan community. Many of those in the community are undocumented, which has made some people hesitant to speak with him.

"This little girl, she was such an angel, and hopefully you get caught whoever did this to her, hopefully you do," a resident in the area said.

"I'm here to tell you immigration status on a case like this, that's neither here nor there; the important thing is solving this case and getting the community safe," Bruegger said.

The authorities said the criminal responsible for the heinous crime will face capital murder charges when caught.

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