HOUSTON – A baby girl missing since her mother was murdered has been found unharmed at a southwest side apartment, Houston police announced early Thursday.
According to the Houston Police Department, 6-week-old Shamali Flores appeared to be unharmed but was taken to an area hospital as precaution.
Police say Erica Miranda-Alvarez, 28, is charged with the murder of the little girl's mother earlier this week. Police just announced new details in the case, saying the suspect murdered the mom and took the baby girl in an attempt to cover-up her own miscarriage.
Shamali's mother, identified as Carolina Flores, was found fatally stabbed Tuesday afternoon at an apartment complex on Goodson Road in the Greenspoint area of northeast Houston.
On Wednesday, the FBI and Equusearch joined police in the search for the missing child.
A $5,000 reward was being offered for information on Shamali's whereabouts and Carolina Flores' murder, HPD Chief Art Acevedo said in a press conference Wednesday.
Acevedo said investigators developed a new theory on Wednesday about what had happened to the child.
“We really believe based on what we've seen so far that this suspect who has this child is familiar with this family and familiar with this neighborhood. The individual who abducted Shamali may be a woman who has or will present the child as their own, and may even indicate the child was recently born. Think about anyone who has a child that you weren't aware they were pregnant. Also think about people that may have lost a child recently. Women or families that may have lost a child recently. That might be someone we may be interested in talking to,” said Acevedo.
The newborn was initially believed to be with her father, Marcos Mariano Thomas Palacios.
Police earlier identified the father as Thomas Bernardez, which is one of the man's aliases.
Palacios was located in San Antonio Tuesday night. He told police he was not involved in the crime. HPD investigators say he has been cooperative, so he was questioned and released.
Investigators spent Wednesday retracing their steps, looking for clues, interviewing neighbors once more, and checking dumpsters to see if they've missed anything.
KHOU 11 News spoke with a maintenance worker who made the 911 call Wednesday morning. That worker claims she saw the mother alive up until 7 a.m. Tuesday, but doesn't remember seeing anyone suspicious taking the little girl.
Anyone with information on her mother's murder is urged to contact the Houston Police Department at 713-308-3600 or Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.