Texas police have been investigating the death of 4-year-old Jayden Alexander Lopez since his body washed up on the shores of Galveston in October. Wednesday they announced that they’ve reached a major but tragic milestone in the investigation. They have arrested his mother and her girlfriend in connection with his death according to a report from NBC News.
The identity of the boy known as “Little Jacob” was unknown until January 30 when Galveston police released a digitally altered photograph of the child that was taken the day he was found. Calls and tips flooded in. Two of them combined gave them a lead on the possible identity of the little one from Houston, Texas. The people who provided those tips “had personal knowledge of the child” according to Galveston Police Detective Jeff Banks. They knew him well enough to have the names and phone numbers of his guardians.
Rebecca Rivera is Jayden’s 34-year-old mother. She was arrested Tuesday on felony charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and is being held on $250,000 bond. Her girlfriend, 31-year-old Dania Amezquita Gomez, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and is being held on $100,000 bond. The two have been together for about four years.
The “Little Jacob” mystery began when a woman found his unclothed body in the water near the shore of a Galveston beach on the evening of October 20, 2017. Officers estimated the length of time the boy had been in the water at between 12 and 48 hours. Detectives believe Jayden was dead when he went into the water. Although there was evidence of neglect and abuse on his body, none of them appeared to be fatal. They estimated the date of his death to be either the 17th or 18th of October.
Police haven’t commented on whether or not they have obtained a confession from Rivera or Gomez, but they do say they believe both women were present when the body of “Little Jacob” was put in the water. They have yet to release the cause of death. Officials have stated that there was another 3-year-old child in the women’s home. He is unharmed and has been placed “with a responsible party.” FBI special agent Bryan Gaines commented on the difficulty of investigating this case.
“While our job is to investigate these types of crimes, it is especially difficult when the victim is a defenseless child. Someone took a beautiful, innocent child, and discarded him in the ocean as if he were a piece of trash. For many of us in the bureau, this was an appalling crime that made our hearts heavy, yet steeled our resolve to find justice for Jayden.”