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Sariyah Garcia & Sebastian Lopez
October 29, 2005 - December 6, 2007
October 25, 2006 - March 6, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial   Find A Grave Memorial

How sad is it to think that if neighbors had not noticed a foul odor coming from a home, the bodies of two children might never have been found. Sariyah Garcia, a 17 month old baby girl and her brother, five month old Sebastian Lopez, were both placed into plastic bags and put under the home they had lived in. Neighbors made the discovery after wondering what the smell was, coming from that home. Tony Serenil thought that the smell might be a dead animal, when he and another neighbor decided to look under the house, he learned he was wrong and on March 6, he made a shocking discovery:

"I got some child and I said "NO". Then everything came to me in a flash, the kids haven't been
around.
The baby, the last time I saw him, was one month ago and the other, the older one,
I saw her two months
ago. That's the last time I seen him, was two months ago"

When Tony had asked about the children, he was told that they had gone to live with their grandmother, that turned out to be a lie. Tony and others found a small child wrapped in a blanket, bound with duct tape and zipped in to a duffle bag. Next to that child was another plastic bag which would later reveal the body of an infant. Police immediately began to search for the parents of these two Angels, Valerie Lopez, who was 19 years old at the time and Jerry Salazar, who was 28 at the time, who they found had recently moved from the home. Family members told Police that Valerie had a daughter who was 17 months old and a son who was five months old. Two of Valerie's sisters spoke to the news with one saying she did not believe her sister had hurt her children and the other saying that there had been a history of problems and was avoiding Child Protective Services. Some of Valerie's other family members talked about how she was verbally abusive to her children.

Jerry's ex-girlfriend said that she had been threatened by him at one point that if she ever tried to leave him, he would hurt her and her baby. Jerry also had been arrested on more than one occasion on the past for burglary and assault. Family members were asking for Jerry and Valerie to turn themselves in.

Support was being asked to help bury these two little Angels and a group called Apache del Rio had plans to hold a BBQ at a cost of $6. per plate. Mission Park Funeral Homes was also going to help with the cost.

After examining the children, the Medical Examiner said that Sariyah's teeth had been traumatically yanked from her mouth and Sebastian had an old injury of a broken leg that started to heal before he died.

Jerry and Valerie were arrested at some point and she tried to blame everything on Jerry. Valerie would eventually admit that she had been the one to kill her daughter, saying she had beaten her death, though she said her sons death was an accident when she rolled on top of him while she slept. Valerie blamed what happened to her children on the fact that she was Bipolar and was not able to go to the doctor or get her medication because she was unable to pay. Valerie's sister, Tina Valdez, claimed that she never asked for help with her children or even admitted that she had an illness. Tina told Police that Valerie had four children in total and that she had a temper. In the year 2002, Tina had gone to authorities to get help for Alexis Ramirez who she had see get punched in the chest by Valerie. At that time, CPS didn't find it necessary to remove Alexis from Valerie's custody and instead put them both into foster care. In 2003, Valerie gave birth to another child, a boy she named Jeovoni Lopez. Valerie ran away from the foster home and left her two children there and at that point, CPS finally decided it was a good idea to take the children away from her, they were later adopted by someone else.

The question comes to mind, why didn't CPS step in and protect Sariyah and Sebastian? Maybe because she was older and they thought she could handle them? No excuse, those children SHOULD have been protected. Six weeks before she died, Police saw a video of Sariyah where she had a wide, red bruise that stretched across her face from her mouth to her ear. That officer didn't find any reason to think that this little Angel had been abused and nothing was done to protect her. Whatever prompted this office to not report the OBVIOUS abuse to CPS, caused outrage in the community and with the family.

CPS had been called before about the abuse these children were going through. Reports show that that at least three other people called, Sariyah's Great grandmother, Sebastian's father and baby sitter, however, CPS says that after trying at least 43 times, between November and March, they were unsuccessful in making contact with Valerie. In a final slap in the face to these two Angels, there were two letters sent to the family of Sariyah from CPS. In letters dated just one and two days after the bodies were found, March 7 and March 8, CPS said in one letter that they were going to open a case to investigate the abuse and in the second letter, they were closing the case due to insufficient evidence.

Now, I'm nobody important, but it seems odd to me that CPS started an investigation into child abuse allegations on the 7th of March, when the bodies of these two children were found on the 6th of March. How could they have done an investigation when the family had moved and could not be found? Then they closed the investigation due to lack of evidence? What is wrong with the scenario? Mary Walker, a CPS spokesperson said that she could not comment on the case, but that the letters sounded like form letters to her.

The family of these two babies is understandably upset and want explanations for why the reports were not taken more seriously so they would not have had to suffer the way they did:

"Im not educated like the people at CPS, but if they ever need my help, they can call me. Because
they did nothing but knock on the door. No answer? Bye"
Sylvia Garcia

An anonymous relative said:

"The picture of Sariyah, there's no way you or I would have left her there"

Texas family code allows for an officer to take a child from a home without a court order if the child seems to be in immediate physical danger. Sgt. Gabe Trevino was in support of the officer not taking the children that day:

"We don't take kids from parents lightly. If physical abuse isn't readily apparent to us when we arrive
on the scene, there's only so much we can do"

Funny thing, Gabe Trevino, because apparently that video evidence was used to charge Jerry with injury to a child. Police said they believe that Jerry knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it.

Jerry was charged with serious bodily injury by omission because he knew that Valerie was abusing her children and did nothing to stop her or to protect them. Valerie was charged with capital murder.

Sylvia had visited the family on November 10th and was so disgusted with what she saw, including knots on her head and the bruises, she said she was going to take Sariyah with her. Jerry got upset with her and she ended up leaving. When Police showed up, Jerry told police that a five year old boy had hit her in the head, causing the injuries. After  talking to some neighbors, the officer was satisfied that the five year old boy had hit Sariyah even though he never spoke to the mother of the child or the child at that time. Later when she was contacted by the police, the baby sitter told them that her son did not hit Sariyah and she told about having seen Valerie slap the little girl and act oddly around her:

"The baby would cry just to get her attention and she would just push her away"

Valerie's father, Miguel Lopez, told CPS in November that he had seen his daughter hit the baby when she lived with him for a short time.



Today is March 25, 2013. I am unable to find anything more about these children. Every link I click on says the story is no longer available. If anyone knows of any more information, please let me know. Thank you :)

UPDATE:

In December of 2009, Jerry Salazar, who was 31 years old, accepted a deal where he agreed to plead guilty to a charge of injury to a child and he would receive a life sentence.

In February of 2010, Judge Mary Roman accepted a plea deal made by Valerie Lopez, who was 22 years old, in which she agreed to testify against  Jerry Salazar, who was 31 years old. Valerie Lopez was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

I want to thank Tabitha for sending me this information, I can't express enough how grateful I am for those who are willing to help me update the pages of these little Angels.

Death Occurred in the state of Texas

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