With just two days before her birthday, the body of two-year-old Rebecca Zavala was found inside a five-gallon bucket filled with acid.
Her parents, 37-year-old Monica Dominguez and 32-year-old Gerardo Zavala are facing charges of tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a human corpse. Dominguez faces additional charges for endangering a child.
“The information from Monica Dominguez, one of the suspects, is that the baby was bathing when she drowned with her little sister in the same tub. Very suspicious circumstances.”
District Attorney Isidro Alaniz says that after Dominguez discovered Rebecca had drowned, she called Zavala and asked him to return home to dispose of the body. Alaniz adds there is no evidence to prove this is a homicide, however, he describes this as a disturbing case.
“Right now the medical team is working to study the remains. We are also going to be sending the remains to Dallas to an anthropologist to look at the skull, to look at the bones and find anything consistent with child abuse.”
Authorities say Rebecca was one of five children living inside the apartment, ages ranging from one to 11. Alaniz says Dominguez did not have custody of the children butZavalaa did.
“Monica Dominguez is currently on probation for injury to a child for ten years. Today we will be filing a motion to revoke her probation. She had no business doing there. Apparently, this was the apartment of the father but she was there and she was with the children and she was with baby Rebecca when she died.”
Police say a welfare concern led officers to the residence.
“As we had no legal authority to enter the residence. At that point, the office of the district attorney was consulted in an effort to secure a warrant to enter the property legally.”
We asked Laredo Police if Rebecca’s parents cooperated during this investigation, this is what they had to say.
“From my understanding and from the information available, the parents were brought in for an interview and from there they opened up about how the incident may have occurred. Their cooperation has been documented throughout the incident, once brought in for questioning regarding the specifics of the human remains.”
Child Protection Services has taken custody of the other four children. Officials did not disclose the condition they were in, adding they are doing well as of now.