UPDATE: Father who abandoned child faces attempted capital murder charge

Published: Jun. 30, 2011 at 5:36 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 1:16 AM CST
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Carlos Rico (Photo provided by Saginaw Police Department)
Carlos Rico (Photo provided by Saginaw Police Department)

SWEETWATER, TX (KCBD) - Sweetwater Police say the father who abandoned his 4–year-old son near Sweetwater faces upgraded charges.

Carlos Rico, 22, is now charged with attempted capital murder. He is behind bars in the Nolan County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

Rico admitted to police he choked his son, Angel before leaving him for dead on I-20 near the Sweetwater exit.  Rico turned himself into authorities in Saginaw, just outside of Fort Worth.

Authorities transported Rico back to the scene of the crime where he showed them where he dumped Angel.

Now we are learning new details about Angel's 18 year-old stepmom through her Facebook page. She visited the young boy in the hospital Wednesday. Since then, he has been released. Angel is currently in Child Protective services custody.

Angel's biological mother has been out of the picture since birth. He has lived with his stepmom, Isabelle Serna nearly his whole life. Now, she is asking people through Facebook to keep her son him their prayers.

And everyone in Sweetwater is praying, they said an angel was found on the side of the highway. Turns out his name is Angel. He was found around 6:30 Tuesday morning, police say he had been there nearly three hours.

"I thought it was one of those posts at the end of the guardrail," said Al Hunt, who found Angel.

Al Hunt and his son were shocked to find the young boy. They happened to be traveling to a golf tournament. Hunt says it was meant to be.

"I asked him how old he was and he held up four fingers. I asked him if he had parents and he would point to the east," said Hunt.

Two days before this all unfolded, Serna changed her status on Facebook. She went from being married to single.

The next day, she tells her friends she left her husband, Carlos.

Police also revealed, days leading up to the incident, Rico lost his job.

"There had been some difficulty financial, looking for a job. You are 18 or 20 years-old with children you want to provide," said Sweetwater Police Chief, Jim Kelly.

Just hours after Angel was found wandering, Serna wrote "I miss my baby Angel". She goes on, "I miss hearing him call me mommy…I'm going to have him back in my arms someday". She tells her friends "the most horrible thing happened".

CPS visited Serna's home in Lubbock Wednesday.

"She told us. They can search my house, we are clean and we will take care of our kids," said Kelly.

Hunt and his son are just relieved they were there in the right place at the right time, to save what they call truly an angel.

"We're given opportunities do something and we did. It was a reaction," said Hunt.

CPS is still investigating the situation. They say they usually want to keep children with their family, something they will take into consideration with this case. The hearing is scheduled for July 7th.

Police say the evidence from this case will be presented to a grand jury in July.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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