Matilda Almaraz (Source: Garza County Sheriff's Office)
CROSBYTON, TX (KCBD) -
The FBI has found the dead body of missing 2-year-old Leah Marie Aguirre in the basement of a home at 502 S. Ayrshire in Crosbyton, according to Crosbyton Police Chief Greg Parrott. Parrott claims Leah's body was found in a box in the basement wrapped in plastic and intentionally hidden.
The homeowner is Matilda Almaraz who was Leah's temporary caregiver at the time of her disappearance. Parrott says after questioning her all day, they arrested her about 5p.m. and charged her with capital murder.
Leah's mother Tina Aguirre had given temporary custody of her daughter to Almaraz back in September while she took care of a sick aunt. Tina only knew Almaraz through a friend on Facebook, and says she rarely saw Leah after that. She says the last time she was able to get a hold of Almaraz was on Christmas Eve.
Weeks later, Almaraz told police that a man going by the name Miguel posed as a CPS worker and took Leah back on January 3rd. She didn't report Leah missing until days later on January 8th.
Chief Parrott says when the investigation started they searched Almaraz's home, but found nothing out of the ordinary. An immediate Amber Alert was sent out with the information about the man Almaraz says took Leah.
However on Thursday FBI agents brought Almaraz in for more questioning which led them to a second search of her home.
"Through some statements made by her in the interview there appeared to be great concern for a particular area in the house so the FBI agents focused their efforts there," Parrott said. "You really had to have been there to understand and grasp how well concealed her little remains were; they were behind a shelf, in the basement, in a box under clothing, wrapped in plastic bags. The person who concealed her went through great lengths to do so."
Parrott says they will have to wait for an autopsy to determine how long her body had been hidden and her cause of death.
"We were all hoping and praying for a different ending. Although we've lost this baby we still owe this child and the child's family a professional investigation so that justice can now be sought for those responsible for her demise," Parrott said.
Parrott says they do not know if there is any truth in Almaraz's story about the man posing as a CPS worker. He also says they are continuing to question people at this time and it's unsure if there will be any additional arrests.