Take 5

11-Year-Old Maria Gonzalez’s Body Arrives in Guatemala Following Tragic Death

GUATEMALA – August 24, 2023 – Maria Gonzalez, an 11-year-old girl who was tragically strangled and sexually assaulted, has arrived in Guatemala to be with her mother in her final resting place. The incident, which occurred at the Main Village Apartments in Pasadena where Maria lived with her father, has shocked the community.

Marias Mother


The horrific crime took place on Aug. 12, while Maria’s father, Carmelo Gonzalez, was at work. According to court details, before leaving for work, Carmelo heard a man talking on the phone in the stairwell. Maria had encountered their “long-haired neighbor” while taking out the trash, a man later identified as Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez.

After Carmelo left for work around 9:45 a.m., Maria texted her father that someone was knocking on their door at about 10 a.m. Police believe Garcia-Rodriguez was the man knocking. When Carmelo returned from work, he found his daughter’s body in a trash bag inside a clothes hamper underneath a bed.

Detectives were able to identify Garcia-Rodriguez as the suspect, thanks to a key he allegedly left at the crime scene. He was arrested a week later in Shreveport, Louisiana, and has since been charged with capital murder. The investigation continues as the community mourns the loss of young Maria.

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