Suspect allegedly killed Houston woman, took her baby as her own

Six-week-old Shamali Flores was abducted on Dec. 19, 2017 in Houston. (Houston Police Department)

HOUSTON (KXAN/AP) — A woman allegedly killed a Houston mother, took her baby girl and pretended it was her own, Houston police announced Thursday.

The Amber alert for 6-week-old Shamali Flores was canceled Thursday morning after she was found safe at an apartment in southwest Houston, two days after her mother was found stabbed to death. Houston police tweeted the baby “appears unharmed and is being checked at an area hospital as a precaution.” The agency also said Erika Jisela Miranda-Alvarez, 28, was arrested and faces a capital murder charge.

Carolina Miranda Flores, Shamali’s mother, was stabbed to death in Houston. (Houston Police Department)

Officers found Shamali’s mother’s body in her north Houston apartment Tuesday around noon. Police identified the mother as 33-year-old Carolina Flores. KPRC reports Flores has two other children, ages 7 and 17, and was also taking care of a teenage niece and nephew.

Early Thursday around 1 a.m. police saw a man and woman at a different apartment complex acting “suspicious” with a baby who looked like Shamali, Chief Art Acevedo said. He added that what happened matched a theory investigators had put together about a possible motive in the case.

“If you recall, we talked about this is probably a woman who either lost a baby recently or that was desperate to have a child,” Acevedo said. “This proved to be accurate — this woman was due to have the baby in January and she lost that baby.” Miranda-Alvarez allegedly continued to fake her pregnancy, and then on Dec. 19 went to Flores’ home, where she stabbed her and took Shamali. Miranda-Alvarez was apparently friends with Flores’ brother.

Acevedo said community policing and building relationships was key to finding clues in this case. He also called out police detractors who say the police don’t care about the poor or people of color.

“This child was born into a poor family,” Acevedo said. “This child was taken from a family of color — this child was taken from an immigrant family, and our investigators didn’t care about color, didn’t care about ethnicity, didn’t care about religion, didn’t care about economic standing. They didn’t care about immigration standing. All they cared about is justice – justice for a fellow human being.”

“This child mattered,” Acevedo said. “It mattered to the family, it mattered to us.”