Child smuggled then abandoned at laundromat
Thu, 07 Nov 2013 04:52:21 GMT —
A woman called 911 to tell authorities a child was left alone at Coin Laundry off Highway 100.
"It shows the woman walk the child to the door, drop him off and shows her walk away and the child standing there probably calling to her."
Los Fresnos Police Chief James Harris explains that video surveillance at the laundromat the night of November 1st clearly shows the woman walk from the location leaving a 3 year old little boy behind, alone, who then sits down and waits.
Luckily, police showed up a few minutes later and that's when the plot thickens.
"He had a birth certificate from El Salvador and a piece of paper to his parents that are right now in New York."
The woman who made the 911 call is the same woman seen in this video, Maria Pedraza, who is now under arrest for child abandonment and being investigated on human smuggling charges.
"Suspicions were that we had a human trafficking or something similar to that."
Investigators say Pedraza did not admit to smuggling the child from Mexico, but claims she found him by the river and then housed him for 8 days before dropping him off at the laundromat.
The documents in the little boy's pocket were the key to where he was headed, but not why the smuggling attempt was abandoned just like him.
"The parents have paid for the child to be taken to them in New York.We're still trying to determine why the child was not taken to New York and why he was abandoned the way he was."
The parents claimed to have paid someone $5,000 to illegally smuggle the child into the US and all the way to New York.
The little boy is in the custody of immigration officials who are working to unite him with his family, but all of their deportation is still possible pending the outcome of their immigration investigation.
Pedraza remains jailed pending even more charges.