Landscaper David Zuber asked a client if he could bury his dead cat in the man's backyard, but police say Zuber instead buried the body of his missing 1-year-old daughter.
The incident took place in Albuquerque where police said the 26-year-old Zuber called Thomas Dunn in late December saying he needed to bury a cat. Dunn's family had used the yard as a pet cemetery, so he told the landscaper it was all right. But as the Associated Press reported, Zuber instead brought the body of his infant daughter, Anastazia Romero, in a trash bag that was stuffed into a duffel bag under the remains of a dog.
A relative of Zuber later called police to say that the girl had drowned, prompting a search that ended in Dunn's backyard, where the girl's remains were found and unearthed.
Zuber and his girlfriend, Monique Romero, were both arrested and charged with child abuse resulting in death, KOAT reported. The entire family had been reported missing after Zuber told a relative that the infant girl died after accidentally drowning in the bathtub, the report noted.
Zuber's father spoke out this week, saying that the girl's death was really just a tragic accident and asking that people not judge his son over her death.
"I am not trying to justify what he did or make it right, cause it is not but it is not what it has been portrayed as," David Zuber Sr. told KOAT.
The elder Zuber said that both parents were in the apartment while the infant was taking a bath with an older sibling, and as they were drying off the older child they noticed that Anastazia was missing. Zuber's father said his son tried to revive the girl after finding her body in the tub.
"He took the baby when he found her at that point and tried CPR for like 30 to 45 minutes, it was too late," the grandfather said. "Granted, he is not a paramedic or EMT, but he did the best of what he thought he could do."