Last week, authorities happened upon a gruesome find at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Reports claim a man and woman were on their way to Tijuana, Mexico, on foot, and tried to cross the border through a pedestrian lane.
When police stopped them, 43-year-old Mercy Mary Becerra tried to run away.
Then police put a duffel bag belonging to the man, 38-year-old Johnny Lewis Hartley, through an X-ray machine.
A toddler was found dead inside the bag.
The LA Times reports that the little girl, who police are calling Jane Doe, was likely drowned to death. The toddler was also said to be malnourished and dehydrated — all contributing factors to her death.
Becerra and her partner, Hartley, have pled not guilty to the single charge of murder.
Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals says that the pair are not the deceased child's parents, but did know the parents. He claims he isn't certain how the child, believed to be 2-years-old, drowned — but he thinks it was a “residential-type drowning,“ and added that ”there's a lot of information we're still gathering."
According to Fox News, drug and gang related violence in Tijuana is on an upswing. Only a couple years ago, many were reporting a renewed interest in the border town as a tourist destination.
New fancy eateries were even opening up in the Baja-area city. However, stories of vicious gang-related violence have made many American tourists weary of traveling south of the border.
CBS Local spoke to the couple's neighbor, who said:
“I can’t believe that, it’s just really sad,” said Henry Munoz. “That someone could do that.”
He said the couple lived in apartment 3 with a "number of children. Two twins, a couple of older ones. Four were in their teens.”
“There were a lot of kids there,” he said, “they had like eight kids.
If convicted, Becerra and Harley could face 25 years to life in prison.