An 18-year-old suspect has been arrested in connection to 11-year-old Maria Gonzalez‘s sexual assault and murder in Pasadena, Texas.

As reported by ABC 13, Juan Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, 18, was living with a neighbor of the Gonzalez family. Garcia-Rodriguez, originally from Guatemala, had lived in the apartment complex for less than a month.

Although police say Garcia-Rodriguez was initially “evasive with investigators,” ABC 7 sources say he “gave a full confession” after his arrest.

In response, the Gonzalez family released a statement that read, “This arrest has brought the family and community some peace.”

“We are extremely thankful that he cannot cause this type of pain to anybody again,” they stated.

Maria’s father found the remains of her horrific murder upon returning from work

Guatemalan immigrant Maria Gonzalez, 11, was sexually assaulted and murdered in her home on Saturday, August 12. Her father, Carmelo Gonzalez, had left for work that morning and constantly communicated with her over the phone.

While at work, Gonzalez received a strange message from Maria, saying someone was knocking on the door. As per KHOU 11, he told his daughter not to answer the door.

Univision obtained Maria’s final voice messages to her father, where she says: “Someone was knocking on the door,” and “I don’t know, I can’t see, I’m in my room. They were knocking.”

Tragically, Maria never answered her phone again, prompting her father to call her repeatedly. At that point, he contacted Maria’s uncle to check on her.

Maria’s uncle later recalled to Telemundo, “I felt something different when I opened the door. I was like, “What is happening?’”

As Pasadena Sergeant Raúl Granados later confirmed, “The family members didn’t find her.”

“The father immediately left work and directed himself to the apartment.”

Horrifically, Gonzalez returned home to the worst possible scenario. Maria’s father found her lifeless body placed in trash bag in a laundry basket underneath her bed. Later investigations confirmed her cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation. She was also found to have been sexually assaulted.

Gonzalez later questioned to Telemundo, “What was the [murderer’s] objective to hurt me like this? Especially to a little girl?”

Pasadena Police Chief confirmed the suspect’s arrest and capital murder charges

After the tragedy, authorities quickly set off on a manhunt to find the murderer. At the time, police confirmed Gonzalez was not a suspect because of an alibi.

Police offered a $5,000 reward and questioned people in the apartment complex. They also took 10 DNA samples in connection to the case. However, Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger admitted they struggled to find answers.

However, Bruegger explained that police found a key in the Gonzalez’s apartment that seemed to belong to someone else. In fact, the key opened the door to where Garcia-Rodriguez lived with two other people.

Garcia-Rodriguez left Pasadena for Shreveport, Louisiana before police realized the key opened to his unit.

The suspect’s roommate told ABC 13 that Garcia-Rodriguez told him he was traveling for work purposes. He recalled the 18-year-old telling him, “It’s not going to be long” and “It’s fine.”

That being said, by Saturday, the Shreveport Louisiana Police Department arrested Garcia-Rodriguez.

As per Chief Josh Bruegger on X, Garcia-Rodriguez was charged with capital murder and will be extradited back to Texas.

The Gonzalez family issued a response to the arrest, explaining how thankful they are to authorities.

“We want to say thank you to the Pasadena Police Department and to Louisiana police and any officials that participated in bringing this cold-blooded murderer into custody,” they said.

“I ask for those who are in charge to give us justice,” the grieving father pleaded. “May he be burdened with the full weight of the law, for what he has done to my daughter.”