Pinal County man found guilty of murdering a toddler skips verdict and runsPosted: Updated:
PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- The family of 21-month-old Mia Alvarez is waiting for justice.
In 2007, the child was murdered by her mother’s fiancé.
Jose Lopez, 26, was found guilty of murder on Thursday in a Pinal County courtroom, but has since disappeared.
“Everybody is still in shock. He did get his guilty sentence, until he is found it will be tough,” said the victim’s cousin, Carlos Mendez.
Police said Lopez was babysitting Alvarez while her mother was at work when she suffered serious injuries to her body.
Police said Lopez injured the child.
Alvarez was rushed to a Phoenix hospital and later died.
“My last memory of her was her sitting there with her sister and they were singing a song at my grandmother's house. She was our little angel,” said Mendez.
Lopez was out on bail during his trial.
He showed up every day until Thursday, when the verdict was read.
Lopez was a no show.
Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
He faced more than 50 years in prison for child abuse and murder.
“It hurts the family to still know he's free and that he was able to be bonded out. He's a free man until he is caught. That could be now until the rest of his life,” said Mendez.
The U.S. Marshall’s Office is working with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to locate Lopez.
Sentencing will resume when Lopez is caught.