One of two suspects arrested in the abduction and murder of 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia Aldrighett Antón has confessed that she abducted the child because her husband wanted “a young girlfriend.”
Fátima’s body was found in southern Mexico City last Saturday.
The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office (FGJ) said that police supported by the National Guard detained a man and a woman on Wednesday night at an address in the México state municipality of Isidro Fabela, located about 50 kilometers northwest of the capital.
Mario Alberto R. and Gladis Giovana C., a married couple and parents of three young children, were subsequently transferred to FGJ offices in Mexico City. The latter is believed to be the woman who was captured by security cameras with Fátima outside her school before she disappeared on February 11.
She told investigators that she kidnapped the child fearing that her husband would follow through on a threat to sexual abuse their own children. When she delivered the child to her husband, she said, he dressed her in clothes he had recently purchased and painted her fingernails.
Gladis Giovana confessed that she strangled the victim with a belt.
If found guilty of kidnapping and killing the minor, the couple will likely spend the rest of their lives in jail.
FGJ spokesman Ulises Lara explained that they were identified by a search of their southern Mexico City home, where police seized identification cards, photographs, clothes and other personal items.
The FGJ said in a statement that Isidro Fabela municipal police and México state police were alerted to the whereabouts of the suspects by a local resident who had apparently seen images of the couple that were released earlier on Wednesday.
The police interviewed the couple and determined that they could be the people sought by Mexico City authorities in connection with Fátima’s abduction and murder, the statement said. The couple offered a bribe to the police in an attempt to avoid arrest, the FGJ added.
Fátima, who was laid to rest on Wednesday, is believed to have known the man and woman although she had no blood relation to them. Authorities are investigating whether the female suspect once lived in the same house as Fatíma’s family, as the deceased girl’s mother said, and whether there were any problems between them.
Two of the couple’s children attended the same school as Fátima, according to parents of students at the Enrique Rébsamen primary school in the southern Mexico City borough of Xochimilco.
According to a report by the newspaper El Financiero, neighbors of the couple said that Mario Alberto R. worked as a bicycle taxi driver in an area near the limits of the boroughs of Xochimilco and Tláhuac, where Fátima’s beaten body was found.
Neighbors described the family as “strange and quiet,” indicating that they wouldn’t engage with or even say hello to their neighbors. They also said that Mario Alberto had drug problems.
Prior to their arrest, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told a press conference that the couple had fled Mexico City on Saturday, possibly after dumping Fátima’s body.
The girl’s mother told the newspaper Milenio that she couldn’t believe that the woman accused of the abduction and murder of her daughter is the same person that lived in her home for several weeks, explaining that she didn’t appear to be a “psychopath” or to have “cold blood” and an “inhumane heart.”
Magdalena Antón said that she met Gladis Giovana C. at the home of a man who sells tamales in her neighborhood.
“She was apparently escaping from her husband because he had wanted to beat her and set her on fire. I said to her: ‘OK, don’t worry, come to my house,’” Antón stated, adding that she asked the woman to pay 300 pesos (US $16) per month rent.
Asked whether she ever had any disagreement or problem with the female suspect, Antón responded that she hadn’t although she said that her brother and the woman had clashed.
“Probably her husband is the murderer because I don’t think she’s capable,” she said. “But she was his accomplice, she took my daughter, didn’t she? In the end, both of them have to pay.”