BEND, Ore. - A Redmond couple was arrested Thursday on murder by abuse, manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the December death of their 5-year-old daughter, authorities said.
A Deschutes County grand jury returned an Indictment Thursday charging Redmond residents Sacora Horn-Garcia, 31, and Estevan Adrian Garcia, 33, with one count of murder by abuse, two counts of first-degree manslaughter and two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment in the death of the girl. who was Garcia's daughter and Horn-Garcia's stepdaughter.
Garcia and Horn-Garcia are alleged to have acted recklessly and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, District Attorney John Hummel said in a news announcing the charges. The grand jury found that their actions and inactions, which included neglect and maltreatment, caused the death of the child, he said.
Two young neighbors who talked with NewsChannel 21 Thursday said they tend to agree with the charges, saying the parents treated the girl differently than their other children.
"They had a lock on her door, and whenever she would try to go out, the alarm would go off," neighbor Kodah Ing said. "If she didn't eat her dinner, they would send her to her room and not let her eat."
"I feel like they were trying to teach her a lesson," said Kainoa Ing, another neighbor, said. "But to do something like that -- I feel like it's not okay."
Kainoa Ing said she went to a Halloween party at the Garcias' home last year, but the girl's door was locked the whole time.
"I didn't see the girl at all," he said. "I also didn't know her until she passed away."
Some neighbors said they were even surprised to learn the Garcias had a 5-year-old. One said she would ride her bike in front of her house for a few minutes before going back inside, but that was all she saw of her.
Last Dec. 21, 911 dispatchers were contacted to report the child was unconscious and not breathing. First responders attempted life-saving measures and took the girl to St. Charles Redmond, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy was conducted the next day by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Since then, the Redmond Police Department, with the assistance of the Central Oregon Major Crimes Team, has been working tirelessly to investigate the circumstances of the little girl's death, Hummel said.
“This investigation has been all hands on deck,” Hummel said. “Redmond police and my deputies worked closely with medical professionals to piece together the final months of this girl’s life. Suffice it to say she went through hell.”
The five-count indictment indicates the timeframe for the alleged abuse and neglect dates back to Jan. 1, 2016. The criminal mistreatment charges claim the couple "did unlawfully and intentionally withhold necessary and adequate food" from the girl, as well as "necessary and adequate medical attention."
Both Garcia and Horn-Garcia were arrested Thursday and booked into the Deschutes County Jail, where initial bail was set at $1 million. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance Friday at 1:30 p.m.
This is an ongoing investigation, Hummel said, and anyone in the public who has information about the treatment of the child is encouraged to call the Redmond Police Department at 541-504-3400.
Hummel did not identify the young victim, referred to in the indictment only as “M.G.”
But on a public GoFundMe page, later removed and apparently started by Sacora Horn-Garcia, she wrote, “Our daughter Maliyha passed away unexpectedly from unknown causes on 12/21/16. She was only 5 yrs old. A life lost way to soon. Due to the unexpected circumstances we are trying to raise money so we can lay her to rest. Any and all help including prayers is greatly appreciated!"
Before it was taken down, the page indicated nearly $2,400 of the $5,000 goal had been raised in three months.