Little girl's stepmom arrested for her death 22 years later

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 27 at 6:23 PM

FORT WORTH — The case had gone cold; there is no question about that.

But this week, Fort Worth police finally landed an arrest warrant and a suspect in the murder case of a four-year-old girl.

Juanita Gonzalez, now 48, is behind bars.

Police said when they responded to her house off Pamela Drive in October 1991, the young step-mother claimed little Anna, then four, had drowned in a bathtub.

Longtime neighbors like Ramona Calder remember the incident well.

"Left the little girl to answer a phone and when she got back, the little girl was face down," she said. "I don’t remember any conversation saying it would have been anything but an accidental drowning.”

The neighborhood accepted that version of events, and Calder said everyone thought it was just a tragic accident.

But police had always harbored suspicions about Gonzalez' story.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner initially ruled that Anna had other abuse wounds.

But it wasn't until a relative of the girl came forward earlier this year that detectives reopened the case and were able to hone in on evidence suggesting further abuse at the hands of Juanita Gonzalez.

"During the investigation, homicide cold case detectives learned that Anna was being abused by her stepmother, Juanita, during the short time she lived with her father and stepmother," police said in a written statement.

The Gonzalez family no longer lives along Pamela Drive.

Juanita Gonzalez is being held on one count of murder; bond is set at $180,000.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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