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Warrant issued for boyfriend in death of Texas child rotting in closet

2019-09-07

A recent mug shot of Santiago Esparza, who was taken into custody Friday and accused of concealing his girlfriend's daughter's body in a Houston apartment complex. (Houston Police)

Authorities have arrested a Texas man accused of stashing his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter in a closet for nearly a week.

Santiago Esparza was brought into custody Friday evening, reported Houston TV station KRIV.

Cops had announced earlier on Twitter that Esparza faced charges of tampering with evidence, namely a human corpse — the same charge prosecutors filed against the little girl’s mother, Priscilla Torres, earlier in the week.

An earlier mug shot of Esparza, a member of the Tango Blast gang, revealed the tattooed image of “713” below his right eye.

Family members discovered Sierra Pantino’s remains in the Houston apartment on Labor Day after not seeing her for a few days, reported the Houston Chronicle. They reportedly were overcome by a foul stench.

“I kept telling my family that something is wrong, that’s not fair,” Sierra’s grandmother, who declined to be identified, told TV station KTRK. “Sierra can’t go without talking to us.”

Sierra’s body had been stashed in the closet for six days before she was discovered, reported the Chronicle.

In her police account, Torres claimed her boyfriend was giving the girl a bath while she was making dinner. When she entered the bathroom, she noticed chemical burns and facial bruises on her daughter.

Two days later, the child was dead. Torres said she declined assistance out of fear Child Protective Services would take Sierra from the home.

Esparza has a criminal history involving children, including previous charges for injuring a child, assault of a family member, endangering a child and evading, reported KTRK.