BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Police are looking for a family of five who fled the country, leaving a 4-year-old boy behind in their rented home with the body of his 3-year-old sister.
Police have not released details on the girl's death but said her body showed signs of visible trauma when it was found Sunday morning. An autopsy was performed Monday.
The boy was found sleeping in the southwest Bakersfield house and placed in protective custody.
Both children had been adopted by their uncle, Alberto Garcia, 26 and his wife Carla, 26. Investigators believe the couple fled to Mexico with their three biological children in their white 1997 Ford Expedition.
Officers found the adoptees after Carla Garcia called her sister Sunday morning and told her to go to the house, said Bakersfield Police Sgt. Mary DeGeare, adding that investigators believe the family already was in Mexico, near the California border, at the time.
The couple is wanted in Kern County on suspicion of child endangerment, and local authorities were working Monday with the FBI to get a federal warrant for unlawful flight, DeGeare said. Police also wanted to check the welfare of the other children, ages 4 to 10.
Patty Clemons, who lives next door, said she was shocked because the Garcias appeared to be good parents who cooked dinner every night and often took the children out to play.
"Everything they did was for the kids," Clemons told the Bakersfield Californian newspaper, adding that she believed the girl's death must have been "an accidental thing."