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Texas man facing charges for allegedly hiding child’s body in closet

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TEXAS (CNN) — At 30-years-old, Santiago Esparza already snapped seven mugshots.

He’s likely about to get another.

Prosecutors say his girlfriend’s daughter, Sierra Patino, suffered a horrific death.

They accuse Esparza and her mother, Priscilla Torres, of trying to hide Sierra’s body in a closet.

“The case is still being investigated. An autopsy was performed yesterday. We are going to wait on those autopsy results before making any conclusions,” said Gilbert Sawtelle, assistant district attorney in Harris County, Texas. “Right now, we just know that they did tamper with, unfortunately, Sierra Patino’s body, which is very tragic.”

Prosecutors say homicide detectives discovered chemical burns on Sierra’s body.

Her mom told police her daughter clung to life for days after an incident in the bathtub, yet never called for help.

“Ms. Torres stated that she wasn’t consuming any food, she was vomiting and she was also going in and out of consciousness before she finally passed away,” Sawtelle said.

The mother’s attorney reiterated Torres’ innocence.

“I will not go any further into the specific facts of the case. I will just reiterate to you guys that Ms. Torres is not responsible for the death of her daughter,” said Torres’ attorney.

After Torres appeared in court Thursday, her defense lawyer declined to talk in detail about the case.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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