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“Little Jacob” Identified as Jayden Alexander Lopez
On Friday, October 20th, 2017 the Galveston Police Department recovered the body of a male child on the beach near the 700 block of Seawall Blvd. When found, the child was in the water, near the shoreline and was found unclothed. At the time of the discovery, no family or friends were present to claim or identify the child. The Galveston Police Department subsequently launched an investigation to identify this child and the circumstances surrounding his death.
We immediately reached out to law enforcement agencies and searched databases across the nation; however, all of those searches provided no promising results. We then made a plea to the public to gather any information we could, releasing a sketch of the child in hopes that someone would recognize “Little Jacob”. Despite hundreds of phone calls and tips, still, no progress had been made to identify him.
On January 30th, 2018 the Galveston Police Department held another press conference to provide updates on the case. At that time the Galveston Police Department released an edited crime scene photograph of the deceased child to the public in an effort to identify him as well as identify the child’s parents or guardians. This unusual tactic resulted in hundreds more tips in the case to be investigated. One of the tips received through the FBI tip line on the date of the news release and then later a second tip provided a possible identity of “Little Jacob” as Jayden Alexander Lopez, of Houston, Texas.
Because of this public involvement, Galveston Police Detectives and Agents with the FBI were able to determine that Jayden Lopez was last seen around October 2017. The investigation also revealed that Jayden Lopez was under the care of his mother and her partner. After positively identifying the mother, investigators conducted DNA comparison and have now been able to confirm “Little Jacob” as Jayden Alexander Lopez. At the time of his death, Jayden was 4 years old.
Now that Jayden had been identified, we were able to shift our investigation to the details surrounding his death. Based on information obtained at this time, the Galveston Police Department has made two arrests in connection with Jayden’s death. Jayden’s mother, Rebecca Rivera, and her girlfriend, Dania Amezquita-Gomez, have both been charged with Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence. It is believed that both of them had knowledge of Jayden’s death and were present at the time his body was left on the beach. The Galveston Police Department along with the FBI are still investigating the death of Jayden and more charges may be filed pending the outcome of that investigation.
Both Rivera and Amezquita-Gomez are currently being held at the Galveston County Jail; Amezquita-Gomez on the misdemeanor charge of Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence with a $100,000 bond and Rivera for the felony charge of Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence with a $250,000 bond.
We cannot adequately convey how thankful we are for the hundreds of tips received from citizens all over the nation. Successfully policing this nation is not only a task for the police but requires the active involvement of the citizenry. This is a perfect example of how police and individual citizens work together to make our communities safer. If not for the public’s help, Jayden would likely have never been identified and we would never have been able to truly lay him to rest.
You can view the full press conference here: https://youtu.be/kesCUViC6g4