(NewsNation) — Police in Pasadena, Texas, are seeking help locating Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez in connection with the case of a murdered 11-year-old girl.
Maria Gonzalez was found strangled and sexually assaulted in her apartment. Her father, Carmelo Gonzalez, said Maria texted him after he left for work, saying someone was knocking on the door.
Family members who went to check on Maria didn’t see or hear anything. When Carmelo returned from work, he found his daughter dead and hidden under a bed.
Police are now seeking Garcia-Rodriguez, calling him a person of interest in the case. Department of Homeland Security sources confirmed to NewsNation that Garcia-Rodriguez is a migrant who entered the U.S. through El Paso and self-surrendered to agents in January.
At the time, he was only 17, so Garcia-Rodriguez was turned over to Health and Human Services custody and released because he had a sponsor in Louisiana.
Garcia-Rodriguez lived at the same apartment complex as the Gonzalez family. According to a be on the lookout alert issued by police, his DNA was swabbed at the scene.
Police said they recovered multiple items of evidence from the apartment, including a key that did not open any doors in the home as well as digital media evidence.
DHS sources told NewsNation police believe Garcia-Rodriguez may have fled into Mexico.
Anyone with information on the case can call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477 or submit a tip online.