Dallas police have arrested and charged a family member with capital murder in the killing of a young girl found dead inside a vacant apartment Sunday afternoon.
The body of 5-year-old Kathrine Alejandra Gonzalez was discovered inside an empty, ground-floor apartment at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sontera Palms Apartments in northeast Dallas, police said.
On Monday, police said Gonzalez's cousin, 17-year-old Angel Lizandro Sanches-Zenteno, has been arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the girl's death.
Gonzalez had been playing outside of her aunt and uncles apartment with her sisters when she disappeared. She, along with her brothers and sisters, were being watched by their aunt and uncle while her parents were at work.
Police said as soon as neighbors in the community realized the girl was missing, many of them were quick to assist in the search for the missing girl — even before police were called at about 11:30 a.m. After officers arrived, many of the residents allowed officers to search their homes and cars for the missing child.
When police arrived, maintenance workers informed them there were a large number of vacant apartments at Sontera Palms. After obtaining a key, officers began what they described as a systematic search of all vacant units. Officers eventually discovered the girl’s body inside a unit at the back of the complex, next door to Sanches-Zenteno's apartment.
Police said Monday that the Dallas County medical examiner said preliminary results of the autopsy indicate the girl's cause of death was strangulation.
A witness told police that he saw the girl walking with a person at about noon and that he had seen them together before the girl disappeared. That person in question, along with a number of other people, were taken to Dallas Police Headquarters for questioning.
The investigation into the girl's death is ongoing. The Dallas Police Department asked for anyone with information on this offense to contact detectives at 214-275-1300.
Sanches-Zenteno is being held in the Dallas jail with no bond. Jail records did not list an attorney.