Border control is a highly prevalent subject matter in today’s America. A plethora of individuals have attempted to smuggle all kinds of paraphernalia across country lines, but the body of a two-year-old child is in a class of its own. A couple was recently investigated near Tijuana at the Sun Ysidro port of entry while trying to enter Mexico on foot. During the investigation, the authorities discovered the body of a two-year-old girl stuffed in a duffel bag. The couple was immediately taken into custody at the border station after Mexican police officers saw the body while x raying the bag.
On August 9th, Mercy Becerra, 44, and John Lewis, 39, were both charged with one felony count of murder, torture, and assault on a child causing death. The young girl, identified as Angelina W., was found deceased while being stuffed in the duffle bag. Becerra and Lewis were also charged with human trafficking to commit pimping and pandering in connection to the mother of the child.
The couple pleaded not guilty to torturing and murdering the little girl. They must attend a hearing on March 16th and if sufficient evidence is revealed, they will also be forced to stand trial. If they are found guilty, they will be forced to face life sentences.
Becerra is reported as attempting to flee while being placed in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Naturally, she was immediately caught and taken into American custody.
Police officials believed the the little girl’s cause of death was from drowning at her home in Whittier, a suburb of Los Angeles. She was also malnourished and the authorities are still struggling to determine whether or not the drowning was premeditated or accidental. The mother of the child is believed to have been trafficked between November 2012 and August 2016. The girl was not reported missing, so current whereabouts of the mother still remain as unknown.
Becerra and Hartley remain in prison, awaiting trial and their bail money has been set at $3.2 million each.
As the story has made headline, people have weighed in with opinions ranging from condemnation of the couple to censuring their facial tattoos and stating the situation as another reason for border security.