In one of the most horrifying child abuse cases of the year so far, two people from Mesa, Arizona, have been arrested on counts of sex trafficking, sexual conduct with a minor, kidnapping, and child abuse.
According to Fox 10 Phoenix, a 3-year-old girl was found in an apartment by the Mesa Police Department inside a closet with her legs and arms bound with duct tape, her mouth taped shut, and trapped inside a black garbage bag covered in feces. Only her head, which was shaved, was exposed. The severity of the child abuse only increases from there. Police say the child had rashes, scratches, multiple bruises, genital blistering, and was suffering from extreme malnutrition.
“The level of neglect was so harsh that the girl could not stand on her own,” said Mesa Police Chief John Meza.
But it gets worse. The child’s head had been shaved because her homeless mother, Mayra Solis, had been using the girl to pander for money by claiming she had cancer. Solis is one of the two suspects arrested in the child abuse case, but her male friend Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias has also been charged for using the child for an even more egregious crime.
Rios-Covarrubias met another man via the internet with the intention of meeting for consensual sex. When the unidentified man arrived at the suspect’s apartment, Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias allegedly showed him the bound, feces-covered child and offered that he have sex with her. Disturbed by the offer, the man from the internet declined and left. He later returned, still hoping to have sex with Rios-Covarrubias, but ended up leaving a second time and contacting the authorities.
According to AZ Central, Mesa police responded to the call and found the 3-year-old bound in deplorable conditions. She was taken from Mayra Solis and brought to the Mesa Family Advocacy Center and then to a hospital to be treated for her injuries. Despite the unbelievable neglect the child had endured, police revealed that the girl’s condition had improved as of Tuesday morning.
Police stated that a child abuse case of this magnitude “shocks the soul.”
The girl’s mother was arrested with Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias but claimed she had no idea about any child sex-trafficking occurring within the apartment, and had no idea how the girl sustained the injuries. She suggested the 3-year-old may have hurt herself by falling.
.@mesapd says mother of 3yo found bound in closet had shaved head of daughter to pander for money, claiming she had cancer. Mom is homeless.
— Liz Kotalik FOX 10 (@LizKotalikFOX10) January 19, 2016
Rios-Covarrubias had reportedly been babysitting the child while Mayra Solis was away, working at a fast-food restaurant. The male suspect had been watching the child regularly under these conditions for about a month. During that time, Mayra Solis had only seen her daughter about once a week. She had also given Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias permission to leave the child alone in the apartment whenever he needed to leave for work, also at a fast-food restaurant.
Solis did admit to shaving the girl’s head to make her look like a cancer victim, however.
The 3-year-old has been transferred to the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias is facing the serious charges of sex trafficking, sexual conduct with a minor and kidnapping, while Mayra Solis is facing charges of child abuse.
Prior to their arrests, the suspects had no serious criminal background. Mayra Solis had been convicted of shoplifting but Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias had no criminal history or sexual offenses on record.
According to Police Chief Meza, a small amount of methamphetamine was found within the apartment as well.
[Photos via the Mesa Police Department]