09/25/2014 12:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Teen Accused Of Raping 5-Year-Old Cousin Before Strangling Her

Dallas Police

A Dallas teen accused of raping and murdering his 5-year-old cousin says that both the girl and himself were actually victims of a third person who held them at gunpoint.

Angel Sanches-Zenteno, 17, is charged with aggravated sexual assault and capital murder in the death of his cousin, 5-year-old Katherina Gonzalez, The Dallas Morning News reported. The teen was arrested in early September and charged with murdering Gonzalez, but police added the sexual assault charge this week.

Gonzalez’s body was found hanging in the closet of a vacant apartment on the afternoon of August 31, CBS DFW reported. She had been strangled to death, and was tied up in the closet hanging by a shirt.

The child had been last seen that morning, playing with her siblings. A witness reported seeing Sanches-Zenteno with his cousin that day prior to her disappearing, according to WFAA.

When the 17-year-old was arrested, police say he told them that a man named Carlos had taken both him and his young cousin into a vacant apartment, where he locked Sanches-Zenteno in a closet. The teen also allegedly said after he left the closet he never saw the girl, and that he did not murder or rape his cousin.

However, police now say he told another investigator that Carlos held him at gunpoint and forced him to sexually assault his cousin “for less than a minute.”

An arrest warrant obtained by the Dallas News states that “the alleged second suspect has not been located.”

A 17-year-old is considered a legal adult in Texas, Sgt. Warren Mitchell of the Dallas Police Department told The Huffington Post. However, Supreme Court rulings ban both the death penalty and mandatory life sentences without parole for those who committed crimes under the age of 18.

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