Mother of 5-year-old girl found dead in closet arrested, police say

By Brittany Taylor - Digital News Editor, Bill Barajas - Reporter, Vincent Crivelli - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - The mother of a 5-year-old girl whose body was found in a closet at a northwest Houston apartment has been arrested, police said Tuesday.

Houston police said in a tweet that 27-year-old Priscilla Torres was charged with tampering with evidence-human corpse, in connection with the death of her daughter Sierra Patino.

HPD

Priscilla Torres is seen in this mug shot released by the Houston Police Department on Sept. 3, 2019.

Officers were called to Torres' apartment about 3 p.m. Monday at Quail Creek Apartments at 7835 Grow Lane after the child's grandmother made the discovery, police said.  

"It's very troubling no matter how the child died, whether it was accidental or intentional death, for a body to be in a closet for several days," said Lt. Larry Crowson, of the Houston Police Department. "It's just pretty unthinkable."

Family members were visiting the child's home, and during the visit, discovered the child dead in the closet, police said. 

[Click here to donate towards the child's funeral expenses]

“The information we have right now is that the body appears to have been deceased for several days,” said Crowson.

HPD’s dispatch told KPRC that the child suffered chemical burns but investigators at the scene could not confirm that information.

"That’s one of the things we heard," Crowson said. "We just don't know at this point until we get the autopsy.”

Police said it was unclear whether the child’s death was accidental or intentional. 

Neighbor James Bennett had a bird's-eye view when crime scene investigators came to his apartment complex and went inside his neighbor’s home.

“You (could) actually see them taking pictures, the flashes of them through the window right there, and I figure that’s where they found the body,” said Bennett. “It’s just scary to know stuff like that is going on right next door to you."

The child’s autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the medical examiner.

Police said additional charges are possible. 

Family members of Sierra Patino made a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses. Click here to donate.

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