Gun Used To Kill 22-Month-old May Have Been Stolen in Killeen, Texas
After the tragic death of 22-month-old Zillyana Thornton at a home in Waco, police arrested Elias J. Espinosa on a third-degree felony charge of tampering with or fabricating evidence.
Who is Elias J. Espinosa?
Espinosa, who is a family member of the girl, was released from jail after posting $5,000 bond. Waco Police spokeswoman Cierra Shipley declined to reveal how he is related to the toddler.
Child's Death Reported as Accident
Police were told initially that the toddler accidentally shot herself in the stomach. However, Shipley says the investigation into how the child died is ongoing.
Information about the evidence that led to Espinosa’s tampering arrest was not released, but Shipley said that investigators have taken gunshot residue tests, and are reviewing other forensic evidence to try to determine how the girl died.
Where Did the Gun Come From?
According to an affidavit filed to support Espinosa’s arrest, a detective saw a Glock 23 .40-caliber pistol 'tucked inside the couch' in the living room. This gun was later determined to be the one used in the shooting.
The arrest affidavit states the gun was stolen out of Killeen. Shipley stated that the detective may have been mistaken, and police are still investigating how the firearm got into the house.
The affidavit alleges that originally Espinosa told officers the gun belonged to him, and he bought it at a Dallas gun show. He changed his statement later, saying he purchased the gun from an “unknown male who purchased it from a gun show.”