Woman under arrest (illustrative)
Woman under arrest (illustrative)iStock

Texas police arrested a mother and her girlfriend on suspicion that they murdered the mother's four-year-old son Jayden Alexander Lopez, whose body was found on the state's Galveston beach in October 2017.

Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said his officers had identified the boy, who had been known as "Little Jacob," after releasing a photograph taken of him when his body was found. .

The photograph was digitally altered and the decision to release it was unusual and controversial, Hale noted, explaining that the tips police received after the release lead to Lopez's identification. People who knew Lopez personally provided the department with names and contact information for Lopez's guardians, he said.

Further investigation included a DNA test and confirmed the identification, as well as to the arrest of Lopez's mother, 34-year-old Rebecca Rivera, and her girlfriend of four years, 31-year-old Dania Amezquita Gomez.

Both women are believed to have tampered with or fabricated physical evidence in connection with the death.

According to NBC News, a second child was found in the women's Houston home and placed in temporary care.

Lopez is believed to have been in the water for between 12-48 hours, but he is not believed to have drowned, NBC News noted. His body, which was found naked, showed signs of neglect and abuse-related injuries, but none seemed to be the cause of his death.

“It is believed that both of them were present when he was dead and that both of them came to Galveston and dumped his body,” Hale said at a press conference earlier this week.

The investigation is still ongoing, with investigators working to determine whether Rivera is connected to Lopez's death.

FBI agent Bryan Gaines noted that Lopez was never reported as missing, or seemed to be looking for him.

"'No one reported Jayden as missing. No one was looking for Jayden. We had to become his advocate,' said FBI SSRA Bryan Gaines," FBI Houston tweeted.

In March, two lesbians sedated their six adopted children before driving them off a California cliff in a combination homicide-suicide.