An 11-year-old girl was tragically found dead under the bed by her father after she had messaged to warn him that there was a stranger at their door.

The grieving father, 32-year-old Carmelo Gonzalez, told Fox 26 that he had just arrived at work at around 10AM on Saturday when his daughter Maria had sent him a text to say someone was knocking at their door at their home in Pasadena, Texas.

He said: “‘I told her, ‘Don’t open the door because I am arriving at work,’ and she responded, ‘I am in my bed.'”

Gonzalez sent relatives who lived in the same building to go and check on her but they didn’t find her despite a “cursory check” before he returned home around 3PM.

Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger said during a press conference that Gonzalez had asked the aunt and uncle “to go check on [her] because he hadn’t heard from her,” the New York Times reported.

The aunt and uncle arrived to find the door open but “were unable to locate her” after doing “a cursory check” of the property, Bruegger said.

Tragically, when Gonzalez returned home at around 3PM – approximately five hours after Maria had messaged about someone being at their door – he found her lifeless body had been put in a laundry basket under his bed.

He told the local outlet: “They left her under the bed in a plastic bag. They left my poor daughter.”

Maria was described as a “good, quiet girl” and had only recently turned 11 years old.

Fox 26 reports that the Pasadena medical examiner confirmed that Maria had been raped and strangled, before her body was hidden under the bed in her own home.

Bruegger revealed that investigators currently do not have any suspects for what he described as a “violent, violent crime”, but said some people had volunteered their DNA to rule themselves out.

He added: “At this point, the father’s alibi checks out, so he is – at this point, at least – not a suspect.”

There were no signs of forced entry at the home but the door was closed but not locked when Maria’s aunt and uncle arrived to check on her.

The area near the apartment does have security cameras but Bruegger suggested they may not have been recording at the time of Maria’s death due to recent storms in the area.

Bruegger believes that the killer likely knew Maria would be home alone at the time, adding: “It seems awfully suspicious that Dad leaves for work and within 30 minutes you’ve got somebody knocking at the door.”

Gonzalez and his daughter had lived alone in the apartment, and Maria’s mother is believed to be in Guatemala, with the family’s legal status in the US unknown.

“I do not know their legal status,” Bruegger confirmed, stressing: “It’s the least of our concerns at this point.”

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