A California couple is behind bars, charged with murder and child cruelty, after Customs agents at the U.S.-Mexico border discovered they were carrying the body of a deceased toddler in a duffel bag as they attempted to make their way into Tijuana Wednesday.
Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, and Mercy Mary Becerra, 43, both of Whittier, were crossing a footbridge into Mexico around 11:30 a.m. when a Customs agent stopped Hartley at a secondary checkpoint.
As authorities took aside Hartley, who was carrying the duffel bag, Becerra ran off. Soon thereafter, authorities made a gruesome discovery: The duffel bag contained the body of a deceased 2-year-old girl.
Becerra was later apprehended and the couple told authorities that the child was not theirs. It’s unknown to whom the little girl belonged or why the couple was trying to take her body into Mexico.
An autopsy will be performed to determine how the child died.
[ NBC ]