A mother in Houston has been accused of hiding her daughter’s body in a closet for days after claiming the child died accidentally.
On Monday, the body of 5-year-old Sierra Patino was found decaying in a closet in a Houston home. Sierra’s body was found after her grandparents went to check on her after not seeing her for several days, according to Houston police.
When her grandparents arrived at the home, they asked their daughter, 27-year-old Priscilla Nicole Torres, what smelled so bad. Torres allegedly confessed that the foul odor was Sierra’s decaying body hidden in a closet. Her parents called 911.
Torres told police Sierra had died after ingesting chemicals on Aug. 27.
“It’s very troubling,” Lt. Larry Crowson said during a press briefing. “No matter how the child died, you know, whether it’s an accidental or intentional death, for a body to be in a closet for several days, that’s just unthinkable.”
Torres allegedly claimed Sierra had ingested toilet bowl cleaner after a bottle fell into the bathtub while she was taking a bath. She allegedly said the child died after days of stomach pains, ABC13 reports, and allegedly said she didn’t call police out of fear of Child Protective Services. When Sierra died, Torres allegedly said she wrapped her body in a blanket before hiding it in the closet.
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Police are now trying to determine Sierra’s cause of death and whether it is consistent with her mother’s story.
Sierra’s family told ABC13 the girl and her mother were originally from Jacinto City and had moved in with Torres’ boyfriend on Aug. 23.
Her family has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses.
“Many have reached out to ask if we are planning a benefit to raise funds for Sierra,” the page organizer wrote. “It hurts when I write this but because her little body was found in active decomposing stage, we do not have the time to coordinate such an event. Her grandparents want to lay her body to rest as soon as possible.”
Torres’ boyfriend was interviewed by police but has not been arrested or charged. Additional charges are possible, Crowson said. Torres is being held on a $50,000 bond.