HOUSTON — Police have arrested Santiago Esparza, the man charged in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter. He was picked up in Baytown.

Esparza, 30, and Patricia Torres, 27, are charged with tampering with a human body involving the death of Sierra Patino.

The little girl’s body was found in a closet on Labor Day after relatives reported a strong odor coming from the couple’s apartment.

Esparza, described by prosecutors as “a known gang member,” has a long rap sheet riddled with violence.

According to court records, Esparza was 17 the first time he was arrested as an adult.

Esparza's criminal record

Charge: Misdemeanor assault with bodily injury

Arrest date: 10/17/2006

Arresting agency: Precinct 2 Constable’s Office

Plea: Guilty

Sentence: 2 days in jail

Charge: Felony injury to a child with serious bodily injury

Court documents show Esparza seriously injured his young son when he struck the boy with an unknown object and threw him against an unknown object.

Arrest date: 11/12/2007

Arresting agency: Jacinto City Police Dept.

While awaiting trial on that charge, Esparaza was busted again.

RELATED: Man arrested in connection with death of 5-year-old Sierra Patino has long rap sheet

Charge: Misdemeanor assault with bodily injury

Arresting agency: Jacinto City Police Dept.

Arrest date: 11/12/2008

Plea: Guilty to a lesser charge

Sentence: 30 days in jail

Trial: 2007 Injury to a child case

Trial date: 2/16/2009

Sentence: 10 years probation

While out on probation, Esparza was arrested again.

Charge: Evading arrest

Arrest date: 11/3/2010

Arresting agency: Harris County Precinct 6

Plea: Guilty

Sentence: 6 months in jail

Since Esparza broke his probation in the injury to a child case, he had to face a judge again.

On April 4, 2011, Esparza was sentenced to four years in prison.

While in prison, he broke the law again.

Charge: Having a prohibited substance or object in prison

Date: 12/14/2012

Arresting agency: TDCJ, Parker County

Sentence: Probation

After Esparaza was released on April 21, 2014, it didn’t take long before he was in trouble again.

Charge: Failure to stop and give info

Arrest date: 11/3/2015

Arresting agency: Houston Police Department

Plea: Guilty

Sentence: 96 days in jail

Fast forward to September 2019.

Charge: Tampering with a human body

Arrest date: 9/6/2019

Patricia Torres told police she and Sierra moved into Esparza’s apartment on Friday, Aug.23 and he offered to give Sierra a bath while she made dinner.

Torres claimed the door to the bathroom was closed and when she opened it, she saw Sierra’s skin peeling and found bruises on Sierra’s forehead.

Torres said her and Esparza agreed to put Sierra to bed that evening without calling 911.

Torres said Sierra died the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 27. She told police they wrapped Sierra’s body in a blanket and put her in a bedroom closet without calling police.

Torres remains jailed on a $50,000 bond.

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