California couple arrested at Mexico border w/child's body in duffle bag

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SAN DIEGO, CA -- Authorities arrested a California couple who attempted to enter Mexico carrying a duffle bag containing the body of a 2-year-old child inside, which may be connected to an incident in Whittier.

Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, and Mercy Mary Becerra, both of Whittier, were arrested and booked into jail on a single count of murder after trying to enter Mexico.

Around noon Tuesday, Mexican law enforcement contacted the San Diego Police Department regarding the arrest of a man who had a dead child inside a bag.

The department's homicide unit headed to the San Ysidro Port of Entry and learned the man was denied entry into Mexico. The man was turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers until San Diego officers took him into custody.

A preliminary investigation revealed the man tried to enter Mexico with a woman when they were stopped by Mexican customs agents. The woman fled the scene and the man was detained with the duffle bag.

Authorities did an X-ray of the bag and found the child's body inside. Not long after the discovery, authorities took the woman into custody and turned her over to U.S. authorities.

Authorities determined the crime may have happened in Whittier, and police will be working with the Whittier Police Department in the investigation.

Anyone with more information was asked to call the San Diego Police Department's Homicide Unit or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.