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Neighbor’s Remorse: Witness Recounts Seeing Girl Before Murder

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DALLAS — A makeshift memorial is growing at the Sontera Palms Apartments in Lake Highlands, where five-year-old Katherine Alejandra Gonzales was killed over the weekend.

“It’s really hard for me to constantly think about it because the nature of the crime,” neighbor Freddie Washington said. He may have been one of the last people to see little Katherine alive; he spotted her walking her dog with her 17-year-old cousin, Angel Sanches-Zenteno. Washington, who lives at the complex, didn’t think anything suspicious was going on.

“I guess he waited until I turned the corner, and when I turned the corner, I paid no nevermind to it until I went back home and three of her family members — two on bicycles, one was walking — asking me If I seen her,” he said.

Washington joined the frantic hunt for the little girl and ran into Zenteno.  “I asked him, ‘Where`s the child?’ Kept telling me, he don`t know, he don`t know, he went to sleep. But from hearing what everybody else who talked to him also, he said he didn`t remember where she was.”

Washington says he alerted Dallas Police that he had seen 17-year-old Zenteno with the girl; Zenteno was taken to headquarters for questioning and the next day, DPD charged him with capital murder.

According to the arrest warrant, the suspect now claims someone named Carlos forced him at gunpoint into the apartment, where he heard Katherine crying. Cops say he told them, ‘I did not rape her.’

The details are hard for Washington, who has two young daughters, to hear. He’s left to wonder if anyone could have saved Katherine. “I look in the eyes of my children every day, and I can’t imagine what those parents are going through  without that girl.”

 September 2, 2014

DALLAS — Dallas Police have arrested a 17-year-old male in the murder of five-year-old Katherine Alejandra Gonzalez. Investigators identified Angel Lizandro Sanches-Zenteno, Katherine’s cousin, as the suspect.

Police say witnesses reported seeing the two walking together shortly before the girl was reported missing; her body was later found inside a vacant northeast apartment complex. According to preliminary reports from the Dallas County Medical Examiner, the cause of death is strangulation; Sanches-Zenteno has been charged with capital murder.

Officers were initially dispatched Sunday morning to the Sontera Palms apartment complex on the 9500 block of Royal Lane, for a critical missing persons call. They were searching for a small child; upon a thorough search, investigators discovered the child’s body.

The child, described only as an ‘Hispanic five-year-old,’ was found inside a vacant unit. Police found her body some three hours after they received the call. Police say there appeared to be no signs of trauma to her body.

“The child did not stay here, but she was often a visitor because she was being babysat by someone in the complex,” Maj. Robert Sherwin with DPD’s Youth Services Division said.

Maj. Sherwin also added the child was familiar with many residents at the complex.

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