Police Seek the Killer of Five-year-old Girl in Dallas

Few crimes shock society more than the killing of a child. We were saddened to read about how police in Dallas found the body of a 5-year-old girl at an apartment complex on Sunday.

Dallas police were called to look for Kathrine Alejandra Gonzalez about 11:30 a.m. at the Sontera Palms apartments in the 9500 block of Royal Lane, the Dallas Morning News reported. Her body was found after maintenance workers gave police permission to search vacant apartments. The girl’s death is being treated as a homicide.

Police had not released details of her death a day after making the grim discovery, but confirmed foul play. Some neighbors told the media she was visiting her family at the complex, but Maj. Rob Sherwin of Dallas police believes she may have been a regular visitor to the apartment complex because her baby sitter lived there.

Police were reported to be interviewing several people, but would did not say whether they had anyone in custody. Tiffiany Sauls, a resident of the complex, said after residents saw officers looking for the girl many joined in.

“We’re standing here to wait and see if they caught the person or didn’t catch the person because we are still willing to do anything we can,” she told the media.

The killing of a child is a shocking event to a community. Last year the killing of Alanna Gallagher, 6, traumatized the community of Saginaw in Texas. Fortunately, child killings remain unusual events. Most homicides involve people who know each other and self-defense may be a pertinent issue.

High profile murder cases also put high levels of pressure on police to make an arrest. In some cases, this could lead to a miscarriage of justice and botched evidence. Texas has seen some high profile miscarriages of justice such as the case of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three young daughters 13 years earlier.

Evidence compiled after his execution suggested Willingham did not set the fatal fire.

Sometimes it is critical to hire experts to challenge the police laboratory’s forensic analysis or the evidence of other bodies such as fire investigators.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.