HOUSTON — A 27-year-old Houston mother accused of hiding her daughter’s body in a closet for a week faced a judge Tuesday evening.
Priscilla Torres, 27, stood in court with her head down as prosecutors read the details on what may have led to 5-year-old Sierra Patino’s death.
They claim Torres lied to police at first then told them what she says really happened.
Prosecutors said Torres told officers that on Friday, Aug. 23, she and Sierra were picked up by her boyfriend, Santiago Esparza, and brought back to his apartment for the night. She told detectives during this time Sierra wasn’t feeling well. She could barely stand and couldn’t hold down any food.
Torres told detectives that she didn’t call 911 because she didn’t want to get CPS involved and take Sierra away.
Prosecutors went on to say that Torres told police she gave Sierra a bath and there was a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner in reach of Sierra. Torres said she left the bathroom for a moment and when she came back, she found an empty bottle of the toilet bowl cleaner floating in the bath water.
Torres said Sierra skin immediately started peeling. She told police she thought Sierra would recover.
Police initially thought Sierra may have drank the cleaner based off Torres’ initial statement. But then they said Torres changed her story, claiming her boyfriend was involved.
After being questioned a second time, Torres told police she went to her boyfriend’s apartment on Friday, Aug.23 and he offered to give Sierra a bath while she made dinner.
Torres claimed the door to the bathroom was closed and when she opened it, she saw Sierra’s skin peeling and found bruises on Sierra’s forehead.
Torres said her and her boyfriend agreed to put Sierra to bed that evening without calling 911.
Torres said Sierra died the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 27. She told police she wrapped Sierra’s body in a blanket and put her in a bedroom closet without calling police.
Prosecutors said Torres told police “she did not want to let her go.”
Six days after Sierra’s death, Torres and her mother, called 911 from the apartment where Sierra’s body was.
First responders arrived to a smell coming from the apartment unit. They then found Sierra’s body wrapped in blankets at the bottom of a closet.
Investigators are still waiting for autopsy results before filing more charges.
Police said they are still looking for the boyfriend, to try and talk with him.
Torres is being held on a $50,000 bond.
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