Vigil held for Maria Gonzalez, 11, who was raped,


Dozens of mourners attended a vigil for Maria Gonzalez, the Guatemalan girl who was found strangled to death in her father’s apartment in Texas last week.

Friends, relatives and neighbors came together in Pasadena, outside Houston, Friday evening to mourn the 11-year-old girl who was raped, strangled and killed last week, according to reports.

Police in Pasadena released a photo of Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, an 18-year-old Guatemalan migrant they are calling a person of interest in the case.

Garcia-Rodriguez lives at the same apartment complex as the victim, and a key found at the crime scene works on a door to the residence where he had been staying.

Last Saturday, Maria messaged her father that someone was knocking on their door.

When he returned from work, Carmelo Gonzalez found his daughter stuffed in a trash bag that was placed inside a laundry bin underneath a mattress.

“This really touched my heart,” said Lupita Hernandez, who attended the vigil, in an interview with Fox 26. 

Candles at Pasadena, Texas vigil
A vigil was held Friday outside Houston for Maria Gonzalez, 11, who was raped and strangled to death in her home last week.

Maria Gonzalez
Maria Gonzalez called her father last Saturday while he was at work because she worried about a stranger at their door in Pasadena, Texas.

“As you can see, I just came from work. I felt like I had to be here.”

The girl’s father, Carmelo Gonzalez, said he was grateful for the support.

Maria Gonzalez lived alone with her father.

The girl’s mother and a sister live in Guatemala, according to reports.

Carmelo Gonzalez holding a portrait of his dead daughter
Carmelo Gonzalez holds a portrait of his daughter, Maria, who was raped, strangled to death and stuffed into a garbage bag last week.

“Thanks for being with me these days,” he told mourners.

“These are tough times. I have no more words to say. Thanks for being with me.”

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