CARROLLTON, TEXAS — Police on Tuesday arrested a family friend of a girl from Oklahoma City who was stabbed to death in Texas over the weekend.
Jasmen Gonzalez, 10, was reported missing shortly before midnight Saturday in Carrollton, Texas, which is about 23 miles north of Dallas. Her body was found Sunday afternoon.
Jose Sifuentes, 23, was arrested about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and taken to the Dallas County jail, Carrollton police Lt. Doug Mitchell said Tuesday. Police found human blood and a knife in Sifuentes' sport utility vehicle on Monday. They also found yellow rubber gloves, half a gold-colored charm, strands of hair, red fiber and a white flannel sheet in Sifuentes' black Lincoln Navigator.
Carrollton police said Jasmen was stabbed to death Saturday on a bed in the master bedroom at a relative's apartment in Carrollton. Authorities said she was taken from the apartment some time after 11:15 p.m. Saturday. Jasmen's body was found in a stranger's backyard a few blocks from the apartment.
Sifuentes, who had been in custody on an immigration hold, is a relative of Jasmen's by marriage, Mitchell said.
Search warrant affidavits indicate Jasmen was shirtless and that her pants and underwear had been pulled down to her knees “in a manner consistent with sexual assault.”
A Dallas County medical examiner's office employee said Gonzalez died of a stab wound to the chest. Her death has been ruled a homicide. The spokeswoman would not confirm she had been sexually assaulted.
Sifuentes was among the adults in the apartment when Jasmen was last seen about 11:15 p.m. Saturday, according to search warrant affidavits. About 15 minutes later, relatives realized the girl was not in the bedroom where she had been sleeping.
“Once the occupants of the apartment realized that Jasmen was missing, they realized that Sifuentes was also missing for an approximate 15-minute period,” the affidavit stated.
The master bedroom has a door to the exterior of the apartment. Police initially considered that the girl might be a sleepwalker. Officers found Jasmen's glasses outside the apartment and soon began to suspect she had been abducted, the affidavit stated.
Her body was found facedown shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the 1100 block of Clint Street, less than a mile away.
While speaking with investigators, police said, Sifuentes gave several “basic statements of deception, including lying about his date of birth and having tattoos.”
The affidavit stated that two dogs trained to detect the odor of decaying human tissue alerted on Sifuentes' Lincoln Navigator while it was parked at the Carrollton police station.
John Glenn student
Lisa McLaughlin, assistant superintendent for Western Heights Public Schools, said Gonzalez attended John Glenn Elementary school in Oklahoma City. McLaughlin said counselors were at the school Monday to help students in mourning.
School staff members are collecting funds for the fourth-grader and her family. Gonzalez's older brother is also a student in the district, McLaughlin said.
“We were just devastated to hear about her death,” McLaughlin said. “Certainly our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Carl Rusnok, spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency placed a detainer with the Carrollton Police Department because they think Sifuentes is deportable.
“By issuing a detainer, ICE requests that a law enforcement agency notify ICE before releasing an alien and maintain custody of the subject for a period not to exceed 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, to allow ICE to assume custody,” Rusnok said. “If he's released from local custody for any reason, he'll be turned over to ICE.”
Mitchell said Sifuentes, who lives less than a mile from the apartment complex, had attended the gathering of friends and family at the apartment complex. He said relatives of Gonzalez's family were visiting from Mexico.
Carrollton police began searching Sunday night with helicopters and search dogs, said Jon Stovall, a police department spokesman.
Police also searched a red Chevy van owned by Jasmen's parents. Inside, officers found red fibers consistent with a red blanket. Relatives had told police that Jasmen had gone to sleep that night with a red blanket. The blanket is among items that police are searching for, according to the affidavits.
“Investigators observed that there were numerous discrepancies between the time lines and events of the evening as described by the occupants of the apartment,” one affidavit stated.
Mitchell said police also searched Sifuentes' Carrollton apartment and the apartment Jasmen's family was visiting.
“We recovered a lot of stuff, and they're still going through that,” Mitchell said. “We're still early on in this investigation.”