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.

KUSJ-FM logo
Get our free mobile app

The toddler died of a gunshot wound to the stomach, and now police are investigating whether the gun involved was stolen in Killeen, Texas, according to KWTX.

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.”

Read More: Texas Man Arrested After 22-month-old Dies From Gunshot Wound

The Most Dangerous City in Texas for 2022 May Surprise You

According to FBI statistics, Texas had 438 violent crimes and 2,562 property crimes per 100,000 residents as of this year. For every 100,000 residents, there are 224 police officers statewide.

Crime rates are expressed as the number of incidents per 100,000 people.

Did You Know Texas Is One of the Top 10 Haunted States in the Nation?

Two years ago, the Lone Star State was named the most haunted state in America, according to Forbes magazine.

Texas has moved down on the list from, but we're still in the top 10.

Don't be scared...scroll onward to see which state currently holds the #1 spot for most haunted in the nation.

More From KUSJ-FM