DALLAS (AP) — Texas authorities have identified the body of a child found washed ashore in Southeast Texas last year, and accused his mother and her girlfriend of dumping his body.
Galveston police on Wednesday identified the body as 4-year-old Jayden Alexander Lopez. His body was found eight months ago, and authorities named the child “Little Jacob.”
Police also announced his mother, Rebecca Rivera, and her girlfriend Dania Amezquita-Gomez have been arrested. Police say both are charged with fabricating or tampering with physical evidence.
Jail records did not list attorneys for either woman. Investigators say they’re trying to determine whether the mother was connected to her son’s death.
Investigators made the unusual move of releasing a photo of the face of the dead boy earlier this year, hoping it would generate new leads about his identity. Authorities had previously released a sketch of the child with a phone number to call with tips.
Police on Wednesday said tips led to a possible name for the boy and a DNA comparison led to the positive identification.
A statement from the Galveston Police Department said Rivera and Amezquita-Gomez had knowledge of the child’s death and were there when his body was left at the beach.
At the press conference announcing the arrests, Galveston police chief Vernon Hale said the two went to Galveston and dumped his body.
Police did not release specific details of how they know the two dumped his body.
Bryan Gaines, a supervisory senior resident agent with the FBI, called the crime “appalling” at a press conference Wednesday announcing the arrests.
“No one reported Jayden as missing. No one was looking for Jayden. Jayden had no advocate other than us,” he said. “Someone took a beautiful, innocent child and discarded him in the ocean as if he was a piece of trash.”