A U.S. couple was taken into custody at the Mexico border Tuesday after the body of a girl estimated to be 2 years old was found stuffed in a duffel bag, authorities say.
Mercy Becerra, 43, and Johnny Hartley, 39, of Whittier, California, were attempting to enter into Tijuana when they were stopped by Mexican customs agents around noon, San Diego Police stated in a release.
Becerra immediately tried to flee the scene while Hartley was detained. An X-ray of his duffel bag revealed the child’s body inside, police said.
Becerra was taken into custody a short time afterward, and both were turned over to U.S. authorities. They face a single murder charge.
Investigators have yet to publicly identify the child, who is believed to have been killed in Whittier, just southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
They don’t believe she is related to the couple, Fox 5 reported.
A man who identified himself as a former neighbor of the couple told KTLA that Hartley had about eight kids.
San Diego Police Lt. Ray Valentin declined to tell local reporters whether the child’s body had any suspicious injuries. An autopsy is scheduled to determine her cause of death.