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25 News investigation reveals Laura Sanchez's criminal past

WACO, TX — Laura Sanchez, the woman arrested and charged in connection to her son Frankie Gonzales' death, has a criminal history.

While police won't say if that history had a bearing on the death of the 2-year-old, it does shed some light on who this mother is and why she would admit to killing her son.

25 News started investigating the woman's background and found Waco Police believe Sanchez went by a number of different names including Laura Villalon, a name under which she was convicted of a burglary in 2012.

Laura Jane Sanchez Villalon walked out of a Texas prison just about 6 months ago.

A McLennan County indictment explains how she broke into a Waco woman's home to steal a Nintendo Wii and other items in 2012.

A check of her records at the McLennan County Clerk's office found parole officers had tried to contact her twice since she left prison, in March and again on May 1st.

It even shows she owes McLennan County $525.

At the time of her 2012 arrest she lived in a home at Cleveland and 17th.

Since then, other records show her moving from a Lakeshore Drive apartment to East Waco Public housing to a street in Beverly Hills.

No one at any of the addresses remembered Sanchez.

What records do not show, is her custody arrangement with the father of her child Frankie Gonzales, a custody arrangement forced, in part, by her imprisonment.

Not even investigators could shed much light on that.

"Did she have a shared custody arrangement with a spouse at some point?" 25 news asked. "I'm not sure on that," said officer Garen Bynum of the Waco Police Department.

A spokesperson for the Department of Family and Protective Services says there is currently a joint investigation between the department and law enforcement regarding Frankie's death.

The spokesperson says two of the siblings have been brought into foster care. CPS had prior interaction with the family, but the details are confidential by law.

"Any evidence that anybody else was involved?" asked 25 News.

"No, not right now," answered Bynum.

Police say Sanchez, after telling family members about Frankie's death, finally broke overnight and admitted Frankie's death to detectives.

Sanchez faces a charge of felony injury to a child for the death of Frankie, but this investigation is far from over and police say those charges could change.


Full autopsy released for Frankie Gonzales

WACO, Texas – The full autopsy for 2-year-old Frankie Isaiah Gonzales-Villalon has been released. It details the long list of injuries the child suffered in his 28 months of life.

The cause of death was determined as homicidal violence including blunt force trauma.

According to the autopsy, Frankie had numerous contusions and cuts all over his head and body. The medical examiner also found evidence of seven fractures to his ribs that were healing, and one new fracture to his right arm.

Frankie’s parents Laura Villalon and Lorenzo Gonzalez were both arrested in connection to the child’s death.

According to the autopsy, Laura Villalon admitted slamming Frankie’s head against a wall on May 28th. When she found him unresponsive in his bed later, his body was placed in a closet. Two days later, Villalon reportedly wrapped him in trash bags and placed him in a dumpster near the intersection of 27th and Alice.

Police recovered the body on June 2nd, after officers say Villalon confessed.

More about Frankie’s disappearance:

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The mother of a Waco woman accused of killing her two-year-old child disowned her daughter Wednesday.

"I may have had her, but she's not a part of me no more," said Caroline Medina.

Medina's daughter Laura Sanchez, also known as Laura Villalon, 35, led Waco police to a church dumpster Tuesday with her son Frankie Gonzales inside following a frantic overnight search for the boy which led to an Amber Alert being issued Monday.

With bond set at $500,000, Sanchez remained in custody in the McLennan County Jail Wednesday.

Although jail visitation is on hold due to COVID-19, Medina said she wouldn't see her daughter even if she could.

"I don't want to see her at all," Medina told KWTX. "They would have to pull me out of that jail because I would go crazy, I went crazy when I found out that little boy, my grandson, that she put him in the trashcan, I cried, I cried up and down."

Medina said she last saw her grandson last week when her daughter left with him to go to the washateria.

"When she came back over here she didn't have Frankie," said Medina. "She said she left him with a friend."

Medina said she had "no idea" what was going through her daughter's mind, but she believes Frankie's father favored him over her and his sisters.

"Honestly, I think she did it out of jealousy," said Medina.

Volunteers came out in droves to search for Frankie after Sanchez' reported him missing from Cameron Park Monday afternoon.

The community united during the search and was devastated to learn of his death.

"Frankie's not only my grandchild, Frankie's everybody's baby now," said Medina.

During heavily attended candlelight vigils Tuesday night, people continued to demand justice for Frankie.

However, Medina said justice had already been served.

"We got justice with my daughter being incarcerated, with my daughter being locked up," said Medina. "Letting her conscience get to her was all the justice we needed for her to just give up that little boy."

Services for Frankie were still pending Wednesday, family said, as the child's body had not yet returned from Dallas for an autopsy.

"My heart is broken into pieces because that little boy is my heart," said Medina. "He's always going to be my heart."

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Laura Sanchez, also known as Laura Villalon, 35, the mother of a toddler whose bruised and battered body was found in a trash dumpster behind a Waco church was named in indictments Thursday charging capital murder and injury to a child.

Frankie Gonzales, whose battered body was found on June 2 in a dumpster behind a North Waco church, was just 28 months old when he died, but his short life was brutal, according to an autopsy report that shows he suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, a head injury and was bruised all over his 33-inch frame.

The autopsy concludes Frankie “died as a result of homicidal violence, including blunt force trauma,” and says such additional injuries as smothering “or other forms of asphyxiation” cannot be ruled out.

The boy’s father, Lorenzo Gonzales, was indicted Thursday for child abandonment and injury to a child by omission.

Sanchez and Gonzales both remain in the McLennan County Jail.

Sanchez admitted to investigators she “pushed/slammed” the boy’s head against a wall on May 28, later found her son unresponsive in bed and placed his body in a closet, authorities said.

Two days later, on May 30, she wrapped Frankie’s body in trash bags and placed him in the dumpster, court documents show.

Sanchez reported the toddler missing on June 1 in Cameron Park.

Authorities launched a massive search for the boy, leading to a statewide Amber Alert.

The following morning, Sanchez led investigators to a dumpster near Park Lake Baptist Church at 701 North 27th St., about 2 ½ miles from the park

The 25-pound toddler was dressed in a gray long-sleeved shirt and gray pants decorated with the Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Pluto, black Nikes, gray socks, one with a green stripe and one with a blue stripe, a white onesie and striped briefs over a disposable diaper.

A black skull cap had been placed on his head and was pulled down over his eyes.

He had suffered lacerations to his forehead and the inside of his upper lip, had multiple contusions on his forehead, scalp, back, arms and legs, a hematoma on the top of his head, and a subdural hemorrhage, the autopsy report says.

His right humerus, the upper arm bone, and three of his ribs had been fractured.

The fractures were consistent with blunt force trauma from a minimum of two events, the report says.

“The location of the rib fractures suggests a mechanism of…compression of the rib cage due to an impact to or compression of the chest,” the report says.

“The injury to the humerus is likely due to being or …twisting of the arm.”

The arm and rib fractures were in the process of healing and evidently occurred anywhere from two to six weeks before the boy died.

He suffered lacerations to his forehead and the inside of his upper lip, had multiple contusions on his forehead, scalp, back, arms and legs, a hematoma on the top of his head, and a subdural hemorrhage, the report says.

Police arrested Sanchez on June 2.

She was initially charged with injury to a child and was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Fifteen days later, on June 17 authorities arrested the boy’s father after the toddler’s two siblings, who were placed in foster care after the body was found, “tested positive for high levels of methamphetamine, indicating the children were recently in direct contact with the substance,” an arrest warrant affidavit says.

Gonzales was charged with child abandonment or endangerment.

His bond was set at $50,000 and he’s held without bond on an immigration detainer.

Investigators learned Gonzales had signed a safety plan on April 22 with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, agreeing he would not leave the toddler and his two siblings unsupervised with Sanchez "due to risk of harm to the children," police said.

The agency, the arrest affidavit says, "was concerned that Laura's drug use could cause the children harm."

Gonzales was to allow her only supervised contact with the children and he agreed to notify both the agency and police if she threatened to take them unsupervised, the affidavit says.

Gonzales, the affidavit said, told an investigator that he left for work on May 28, the day that his wife told police the toddler died, "and left all the children unsupervised with Laura Sanchez," the affidavit says.

“This violation ultimately led to the injuries and death of Frankie Gonzalez,” police said.

Sanchez lost custody of six older children several years ago over allegations and neglect, according to Waco lawyer Gerald Villarrial, who represented interests of the six children during proceedings to terminate Sanchez's parental rights.

Gonzales got custody of the oldest of the three children he had with Sanchez, Villarrial said, and because he had a good track record was able to let Sanchez have surprise visits with the child.

Frankie’s two siblings remain in foster care under the supervision of Texas Child Protective Services.

Frankie Gonzales was laid to rest in a private ceremony at Rosemound Cemetery on June 9.

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.


Villalon laura

Mother of dead Waco toddler indicted for capital murder and injury to a child

WACO, Texas — The mother of the Waco 2-year-old who died and was later dumped in a garbage can was indicted for capital murder and injury to a child. 

Laura Sanchez, also known as Laura Villalon, faced the charges after she confessed that her son Frankie Gonzales died in her care in late May. According to an arrest affidavit, Sanchez kept the child's body in her house after he died May 28 and disposed of the body in a dumpster being Park Lake Baptist Church in Waco a few days later.

Upon confessing, she led investigators to the dumpster where she had disposed of the body. According to the affidavit, she had placed multiple bags over the body. 

The toddler's father, Lorenzo Gonzales, was indicted for abandoning a child and injury to a child by omission. 

During the investigation into the death of Frankie Gonzalez, it was found that Lorenzo had signed an official agreement with the Department of Family and Protective Services where he agreed that he would not leave the children unsupervised with their mother due to the risk of harm to the children.

Lorenzo intentionally left the children alone and unsupervised with Sanchez in violation of the agreement that was made with the state, according to the Waco PD.

The 2-year-old was first reported missing by Sanchez. She told police her son had gone missing at Cameron Park June 1. The report led to a search around the park and around the Brazos River by Waco police, the fire department and the McLennan County Sheriff's Office. A statewide Amber Alert was issued, but it was later confirmed that the boy was never at the park. 

Mother of dead Waco toddler indicted for capital murder and injury to a child

Toddler born in prison ‘murdered’ by mother who then dumped his body in trash can

Frankie Gonzalez and Laura Villanon

A toddler born in prison was murdered while being cared for by his mom, who then dumped his body in the bottom of a trash can, police say. Frankie Gonzalez’s cause of death was officially ruled a homicide caused by blunt force injuries on Monday, almost two months after he was found dead on June 2.

Police think two year-old Frankie died while in his mother Laura Villalon’s care on May 28, and that she disposed of his corpse in Waco, Texas, on May 30. Villalon, 35, is currently in jail on a first-degree felony injury to a child charge, although she is almost certain to face upgraded charges once prosecutors evaluate Frankie’s autopsy report.

She initially claimed that her son had gone missing while on an outing to Waco’s Cameron Park.

The two year old’s corpse was found at the bottom of a trash can near his home, after Villalon led investigators to him. The burglar – who gave birth to Frankie while in jail over a parole violation – had been banned from caring for her seven children because of prior drug abuse and neglect.

Lorenzo Gonzalez mugshot

Despite that edict, Frankie’s dad Lorenzo Gonzalez left Villalon with Frankie and his two other children to go to work on May 28. He said he had done so because Villalon appeared to have curbed her abusive urges, the Waco Tribune reported.

Gonzalez has been charged with felony child endangerment, and is being held on an immigration hold ahead of his next court hearing. He signed an agreement with social services promising not to let Villanon care for his son or other children unsupervised.

Gonzalez’s lawyer Phil Martinez says the dad has been ‘torn up’ over the murder of his son.

Martinez said: ‘ He is very upset that his son died.

‘Initially, before he was arrested, he was cooperating with law enforcement about what he knew and what he could tell them about what might have happened.

‘Every time I have talked to him about it, he is broken up regarding all of this. He doesn’t know what could have overcome the mother to do something like that. He is also looking for answers.’

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