(Meredith/KTRK/CNN) -- Police in Texas are searching for a man accused of helping his girlfriend hide the body of her 5-year-old daughter in a closet. 

Santiago Esparza, 30, is facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence in the death of Sierra Patino. A warrant is currently out for his arrest, the Houston Police Department tweeted Friday. 

The girl's mother, Priscilla Nicole Torres, 27, is also charged with tampering with evidence, namely a human corpse. Additional charges are possible. 

"The case is still being investigated," said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Gilbert Sawtelle. "An autopsy was performed yesterday. We are going to wait on those autopsy results before making any conclusions. Right now, we just know that they did tamper with, unfortunately, Sierra Patino's body, which is very tragic." 

Torres allegedly wrapped her daughter's body in a blanket and then hid the body inside a closet at their Houston apartment.

Two family members went to check on Sierra on Monday after they had not seen her in a few days, according to police. When they entered the Quail Creek apartment complex, they smelled a foul odor. 

Police said Torres admitted the source of the odor was Sierra's body. The mom reportedly told officers Sierra became sick after ingesting chemicals and later died on Aug. 27. 

"Ms. Torres stated that [Sierra] wasn't consuming any food, she was vomiting and she was also going in and out of consciousness before she finally passed away," said Sawtelle. 

Police said Torres told them she was too afraid to call 911 after her daughter died because she feared CPS involvement.

Three days after the girl's death, police said Torres and her boyfriend checked into a hotel in Jacinto City, about 10 miles east of Houston. They then took a trip to Galveston, about 50 miles away, before returning to Houston on Labor Day. 

During a probable cause hearing on Tuesday, Torres' attorney said she is not responsible for the death of her daughter. 

"As you know, Ms.Torres is presumed innocent until proven guilty," said defense attorney Bryan Savoy. "After you hear all the facts, after a thorough vetting of all the facts in this case, we believe a jury of her peers will find her not guilty of the death of her daughter."

Prosecutors requested Torres' bond be raised to $100,000, saying they consider her a flight risk. But the judge kept her bond at $50,000.  

According to the terms of her bond, Torres will be required to wear an ankle monitor and must have no contact with Esparza.

Prosecutors said Esparza is a documented gang member with ties to a group known as Tango Blast. In 2015, Esparza was also sentenced to four years of probation for child endangerment. 

Copyright 2019 KTRK via CNN. All rights reserved.

Recommended for you