A Texas woman who wanted to hide a recent miscarriage now faces a capital murder charge after Houston Police said she killed a new mother and took her baby daughter as her own.
The six-week-old baby was found healthy and unharmed on Thursday and was taken to a hospital as a precaution, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Erika Jisela Miranda-Alvarez, 28, was taken into custody and accused of fatally stabbing Carolina Miranda Flores, 33, in her home on Tuesday and then abducting her daughter Shamali Flores. Alvarez was friends with the victim’s brother, police said.
Alvarez could face the death penalty if convicted on the capital murder charge. It was not immediately clear if Alvarez had an attorney.
Alvarez was due to give birth in January but suffered a miscarriage, according to police. She continued to fake her pregnancy with loved ones and, on Tuesday, showed up with a baby she claimed was hers, police said.
The Houston Police and FBI investigation led detectives to a Houston apartment complex just after 1 a.m. Thursday, where investigators said they noticed a suspicious male and female holding a newborn and attempting to leave the area. They were detained and the newborn was determined to be the missing baby, police said.
Alvarez’s boyfriend has not been charged with a crime, police said, but he remains under investigation.
Despite the brutal killing, Chief Acevedo said investigators were able to find a “silver lining” in finding the baby safe. “It was a very joyous occasion for all of us when we saw that little angel just sitting there that doesn’t have a clue of what’s going on,” he said.
The suspect and victim’s families were immigrants and came to the US about five years ago, police said.
Chief Acevedo said that police were not interested in investigating the immigration status of the victim’s family because it was irrelevant to the crime at hand.
“We’re not interested in anyone’s immigration status,” he said on Wednesday. “We’re interested in justice.”