SACRAMENTO -- The sheriff's office says a Sacramento County father is in police custody after his 8-month-old daughter was found dead in Southern California.
Alexander Echeverria became a person of interest when his daughter, Alexia Rose Echeverria, was found one week ago behind a mortuary. Her body was in an upright car seat and covered by a blanket, according to FOX40's sister station KTLA.
The 22-year-old father surrendered to FBI agents at the southern border near San Diego around noon Monday while with his attorney, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office. Records show he was booked into the San Diego County Jail and faces felony charges for first-degree murder and assault on a child.
Sacramento County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. James Wilcox with the Child Abuse Bureau told reporters that Echeverria made arrangements to surrender a few days prior to his arrest and it was confirmed late Sunday that he would cross the border to meet with U.S. authorities.
He will be transported back to Sacramento within the next 10 days.
Family members believed Echeverria was traveling with his daughter to Bakersfield prior to the discovery of the baby's body.
The girl's mother said she last saw the two over FaceTime on the morning of May 26. Echeverria claimed he would be returning to Sacramento the morning of May 27 but was reported missing when he never showed up.
He was considered at-risk after family members said he had made suicidal statements.
Detectives believed the baby died in Sacramento and was then driven south to Bellflower.
"At this time, what we're comfortable releasing in regards to the autopsy results is that it does not appear that Alexia's death is natural," Sgt. Wilcox said at Monday's press conference.
Previously, authorities indicated Alexia's body showed no obvious signs of trauma when it was discovered.
Her mother, Karla Alvarado, was told by Echeverria's brother that her death was an accident.
“(Echeverria) contacted his brother yesterday, I believe. He told him that he was playing with her, throwing her up (in the air), and he slipped and she fell, and she wasn’t waking up,” Alvarado told FOX40. “He said he got scared and he drove to the hospital but he never went in because he thought nobody was going to believe him that it was an accident.”
Wilcox reports Echeverria also faces charges from an unrelated domestic violence case out of Sacramento County. The detective would not provide any additional details about that case.