Police arrested a Texas woman who suffered a recent miscarriage in connection with the murder of a mother and the kidnapping of her 6-week-old daughter.
Houston police found baby Shamali Flores unharmed on Dec. 21, two days after her mother Carolina Miranda Flores, 33, was murdered in her apartment.
Authorities arrested Erika Jisela Miranda-Alvarez, 28, after police found her and her boyfriend attempting to leave their apartment with Shamali. Alvarez has been charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty if convicted, according to CNN.
Alvarez, a friend of Flores' brother, allegedly killed the new mother after she suffered a miscarriage, but didn't tell her boyfriend or family.
"She took the complainant's daughter because she did not want to disappoint her boyfriend," a prosecutor said, according to KTRK.
"She was pretending her baby had been ill at the hospital," said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, according to Chron. "Lo and behold, she shows up December 19 claiming the baby was hers."
Police believe Alvarez stabbed Flores to death with scissors before taking Shamali home with her, according to KTRK. Flores was found dead in her apartment with stab wounds in her neck and head on Dec. 19.
After police arrested Alvarez, she said she took Shamali home and pretended she was her baby. She denied killing Flores, claiming the mother was already dead when she arrived, according to KTRK. A judge found probable cause to detain Flores and denied her bond.
Alvarez's boyfriend has not been charged.
"I don't think she has any mental issues," Jenny Lopez, Flores' cousin, told KTRK. "I think she wanted to have a baby because she lost her baby and she just wanted a baby."
Relatives are caring for Shamali and her two older siblings.
While announcing the arrest, Acevedo praised the effectiveness of community policing and the help his detectives received from the mostly immigrant community where the murder occurred.
"Everything our investigators theorized turned out to be true," he said, according to Chron. "But a lot of that relied on community policing, community trust."
Alvarez and Flores were both immigrants who came to the U.S. within the last five years, according to CNN. Acevedo said police would not investigate the immigration status of anyone in the victim's family.
"We're not interested in anyone's immigration status," he said. "We're interested in justice."
Acevedo also found the silver lining in the case: Shamali's safety.
"It was a very joyous occasion for all of us when we saw that little angel just sitting there that doesn't have a clue of what's going on," he said.
"When you can find a silver lining out of a tragedy as this -- a young woman was brutally murdered -- you have got to take what you can," he continued, according to Reuters. "That is what keeps our sanity as police officers."