LA-area couple charged with killing toddler found in duffel

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Los Angeles-area couple is charged with murder after trying to cross into Mexico with the body of a 2-year-old girl in a duffel bag.

Mercy Becerra and Johnny Hartley also are charged with torture, assault on a child causing death and sex trafficking of the girl’s mother.

The couple, who were charged last week, remained jailed in Los Angeles County Thursday and could face life sentences if convicted. It’s unclear whether they have attorneys.

Prosecutors say the couple trafficked a woman between 2012 and this August, seized her daughter, brutally abused the child and killed the girl two months ago in Whittier.

Authorities say they were arrested on Aug. 9 at the San Ysidro border station after Mexican authorities X-rayed the duffel bag and discovered the girl’s body.

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