Couple Who Cops Say Had Dead Toddler in a Duffel Bag At Mexico Border Charged With Murder

Mercy Mary Becerra and Johnny Lewis Hartley were entering Tijuana in the pedestrian lane in August when they were stopped by authorities.

A California man and woman who were stopped at the Mexico border allegedly with a dead toddler stuffed in a duffel bag have been charged with murder.

The couple faces other felony counts including torture in connection with the child's body allegedly discovered while the two were attempting to cross the border into Tijuana on Aug. 9.

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Mercy Mary Becerra, 43, and Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, are expected to be arraigned Friday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced.

Prosecutors said Becerra and Hartley allegedly trafficked the toddler's mother between November 2012 and August 2016.

In that time, the defendants are alleged to have seized the woman’s daughter, severely abused the child and ultimately killed the victim.

San Diego police said Hartley was carrying the bag containing the remains when officials reportedly X-rayed the sack and discovered a body inside, believed to belong to a female about 2 years old, police said. 

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If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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