A 4-year-old boy whose body washed up on a Texas beach in October finally has a name, and his mother has been arrested, authorities announced Wednesday.
The child, known only as "Little Jacob" was found on the Galveston shoreline. Police and FBI agents worked relentlessly to identify the boy and his family members. For months they got nowhere, despite releasing a sketch of the child and combing every missing child database in the country.
There was "no family, no friend, no outcry," said Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale. "My only goal was to give this baby a name."
In January, desperate investigators made an unusual decision: They released a photograph of the dead child's face and said he had been the victim of neglect and abuse.
That image brought in two tips that led authorities to Rebecca Rivera, 34, and her girlfriend, Dania Gomez, 31, Hale said. Rivera was the boy's mother. His name was Jayden Alexander Lopez.
"Both were present at his death and both came to Galveston and dumped his body," the chief said.
Rivera has been charged with a felony count of tampering or fabricating physical evidence and is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail. Gomez faces a misdemeanor count of the same charge and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Neither has entered a plea.
Jayden's cause of death was not released. He lived with his mother and her girlfriend in Houston. A 3-year-old girl found at the home has been placed in protective custody, authorities said.
"The victim was a defenseless child," FBI agent Brian Gaines said at Wednesday's press conference announcing the arrests. "Jayden had no other advocate than us."