Man charged with capital murder in sexual assault, strangulation of girl left home alone in Houston area

Police in the Houston area have identified Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez as the person of...
Police in the Houston area have identified Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez as the person of interest in connection to the murder of 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez, who was found deceased by her father on Aug. 12.(Pasadena Police Department)
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 1:38 PM CDT
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PASADENA, Texas (KWTX) - UPDATE: Police on Saturday announced Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez,18, originally named as a person of interest in the murder of 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez, whose body was found under her bed by her father on Aug. 12, has been arrested and charged with capital murder.

Police learned Garcia-Rodriguez was residing in the same apartment complex where the victim was murdered. He vanished soon after the girl’s body was found, police said.

Investigators reportedly obtained “implicating evidence” linking Garcia-Rodriguez to the victim’s murder. He was arrested by police in Shreveport, Louisiana and is awaiting extradition to Texas.

The father told police his daughter texted him while he was at work to let him know someone was knocking on the door. He never heard from her again. When the father arrived home later that day, he made the devastating discovery.

According to police, a single key was located inside the apartment and taken as evidence, which they say was not found to open any of the doors at the victim’s residence.

“Our investigators also confirmed that the young girl’s body was found inside a plastic trash bag that was placed inside a laundry basket and concealed under a bed inside the home,” police said. The girl was reportedly sexually assaulted before she was strangled.

Police say Maria and her father are both from Guatemala and had only moved into the apartment three months ago. The girl’s mother is still in Guatemala.

Maria’s father described her as a good, quiet girl, according to KHOU. She celebrated her 11th birthday just a few weeks before her death.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of the suspect in this case.

Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitted online at, or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app. Only tips and calls directly to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and eligible for a cash reward.