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2-Year-Old Girl Was Drowned Before Being Taken To Border In Duffle Bag

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Mercy Mary Becerra and Johnny Lewis Hartley. (via Facebook)
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Prosecutors say that a baby who was found inside a duffle bag at the Mexican border on Wednesday had been drowned beforehand, reports KTLA.

A man and a woman—39-year-old Johnny Lewis Hartley and 43-year-old Mercy Mary Becerra—were attempting to cross the Mexican border on Wednesday morning when they were stopped by Mexican Customs agents. They were later discovered to have a duffle bag containing the corpse of a 2-year-old girl. At the time, police said that the two adults were not the child's parents, and that they did not know Hartley and Becerra's relationship with the girl.

Now, prosecutors are shedding more light on the case. They say that, while Hartley and Becerra are not related biologically to the girl, they are acquainted with her parents. The child was believed to have been drowned sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday in Whittier, where both Hartley and Becerra are from. The child's identity is still being confirmed by authorities.

Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said that the child also showed signs of malnutrition and dehydration, reports San Diego's NBC 7.

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Adding to the mystery of the case, Lt. Ray Valentin of the San Diego Police Department told NBC 7 that Hartley and Becerra may have been dropped off at the pedestrian border crossing by a third party. Also, there was no missing persons report filed on the child.

If convicted, Hartley and Becerra each face a prison sentence of 25 years to life.

Anyone with information is asked to call the SDPD Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.