Mother of 'Little Jacob' among 2 arrests after boy found dead on Galveston beach identified

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Jake Reiner - Reporter

GALVESTON, Texas - The mother of a boy known as “Little Jacob,” whose body was found on a Galveston beach last year, is among two people arrested after the boy was identified, police said.

Galveston police Chief Vernon Hale said the boy was identified as 4-year-old Jayden Lopez, of Houston, after investigators released an edited crime scene photo that showed the boy’s face.

After the boy was identified, investigators determined the boy was in the care of his mother, identified as Rebecca Rivera, 34, and her girlfriend, Dania Amezquita Gomez, 31, at the time of his death, Hale said.

TIMELINE: The case of "Little Jacob"

"It is believed that both of them were present when he was dead, and that both of them came to Galveston and dumped his body," Hale said.

Investigators said Jayden did not drown, and they are still trying to determine his cause of death. They said he showed signs of neglect.

Rivera and Gomez have each been charged with tampering or fabricating evidence, and both are being held in the Galveston County Jail. Rivera is being held on $250,000 bond, while Gomez is being held on $100,000 bond.


Rebecca Rivera, left, and Dania Amezquita Gomez are seen in these mugshots released by the Galveston Police Department on June 20, 2018.

Jayden's naked body was found Oct. 20 by someone walking on the beach near 7th Street and Seawall Boulevard.

"No one reported Jayden as missing," said Bryan Gaines, supervisory senior resident agent of the FBI. "No one was looking for Jayden. Jayden had no advocate other than us."

Police said an autopsy revealed that Jayden likely died on Oct. 17 or Oct. 18. His body was placed in the water east of where he was found in the Galveston County area and was washed west to where he was found, police said. He had been in the water for between 12 and 48 hours, police said.

VIDEO: Police discuss identity, arrests in case

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