Toddler's body found in duffel bag at US/Mexican border

Posted at 1:25 PM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 16:01:18-04

SAN DIEGO – A dead 2-year-old child was found in a duffel bag belonging to a man and woman who were trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border south into Tijuana Tuesday.

According to San Diego police, the child's body was found sometime before noon by Mexican law enforcement at the El Chaparral port of entry during an X-ray scan. When Mexican authorities attempted to detain the couple, the woman fled. The man was arrested at the scene and the woman was caught and detained a short time later. Both were turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

After being interviewed by San Diego Police Department homicide detectives, 39-year-old Johnny Lewis Hartley and 43-year-old Mercy Mary Becerra, both of Whittier, Calif., were each booked into the San Diego Central Jail on one count of murder.

Investigators believe the child’s death occurred in Whittier, a suburb of Los Angeles. San Diego police are working with the Whittier Police Department on the case.