Mother of ‘Little Jacob’ sentenced to life in prison for boy’s slaying

Rebecca Rivera is seen in this mug shot released Feb. 4, 2021.
Rebecca Rivera is seen in this mug shot released Feb. 4, 2021. (GCDA)

GALVESTON, Texas – The mother of a boy known as “Little Jacob” has been sentenced to life in prison for killing the 4-year-old boy and dumping his body on a Galveston beach.

Rebecca Rivera was convicted of first-degree injury to a child causing serious bodily injury and sentenced Thursday.

The body of “Little Jacob” was found on East Beach in Galveston in October 2017. It took six months of DNA analysis by the FBI and pleas from law enforcement before the boy was identified as Jayden Alexander Lopez. Rivera and her girlfriend, Dania Amezquita Gomez, were arrested in June 2018.

A sketch, left, that was released in October 2017 after a boy's body was found is seen next to a photo of Jaden Lopez released by police in Galveston, Texas, on June 20, 2018. (GPD)

At the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Jayden’s body showed evidence of scarring from being beaten with hangers, cigarette burns on his back and ligature marks on his wrists and ankles. The boy had also suffered several blunt force trauma injuries.

Prosecutors said that Rivera admitted before the trial that she would beat Jacob whenever she got frustrated with Gomez.

Gomez, who is also charged in the case, testified against Rivera as part of a plea deal, prosecutors said.

“You can’t rehabilitate evil,” said Galveston County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Shawhan.

Rivera will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years of her life sentence.

Gomez is scheduled for a plea hearing on Feb. 11.

About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.