The mother of an infant girl whose body was found behind a mortuary in Bellflower is speaking out as authorities continued the search Wednesday for the baby's missing father, named a person of interest in the case.
Karla Alvarado, the mother of 8-month-old Alexia Rose Echeverria, said she last saw 22-year-old Alexander Echeverria on Sunday in Sacramento, when he told her he was taking the baby to Bakersfield.
“Sunday morning he dropped me off at work at 11 a.m., and then an hour later we Facetimed," Alverado told KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento. "It’s the last time I saw her, on video chat."
The following day, he called his brother to say his daughter died in an accident, according to Alverado.
“He told him that he was playing with her — throwing her up — and he slipped, and she fell. And she wasn’t waking up,” she recalled. “He said he got scared and he drove to the hospital, but he never went in because he thought that nobody was going to believe him that it was an accident.”
Echeverria did not contact Alvarado about their baby's death, she told KTXL. He was due back with Alexia on Monday, but never showed up.
“I just can’t believe that he would just leave her there," the grief-stricken mother said. "She wasn’t trash, she wasn't a doll. She was my little girl.”
Echeverria, 22, was reported missing by family members in Southern California on Monday, the same morning his daughter was found dead behind Funeraria del Angel, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
A worker discovered Alexia's body upright in a car seat and covered by a blanket, L.A. sheriff's officials said.
She is believed to have died in Sacramento. A cause of death was not immediately released, and authorities have not indicated when they think the baby died.
On Tuesday, Echeverria was named a person of interest in his daughter's death by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, which has taken over the investigation.
Echeverria is considered to be "at-risk" because of suicidal statements he made to relatives, according to Sacramento County sheriff's officials.
Detectives believe he is driving a gray, 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, with California license plate 7FFT866.
Alvarado told KTXL she hopes Echeverria is located soon.
“He should have told me this happened and faced the consequences. If he had to go to jail, then deal with it, you know, deal with it," she said. "But my baby didn’t have to go through all that."
Anyone with knowledge of the missing man's whereabouts is urged to call the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office at 916- 874-5115. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by dialing 916-443-4357.