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Austin

Police arrest Garcia-Zavala, 23, on charge unrelated to teen's death

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Austin police have arrested a man they believe was with 13-year-old Sophia Martinez on New Year's Eve into New Year's Day. Sophia was pronounced dead on Jan. 1.

According to police, 23-year-old Jose Ricardo Garcia-Zavala was arrested without incident Thursday on a charge of parole violation. Garcia-Zavala has not been charged in relation to the teenager’s death.

Authorities are still looking for a man they believe to be involved in the teen’s death. Mario Angeles-Hernandez, 23, has been charged with indecency with a child by contact and child endangerment.

Sophia was found unresponsive when she was dropped off at a friend’s house in Southeast Austin shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Sophia and her 15-year-old friend were supposed to spend New Year’s Eve at that home, but instead were picked up by 23-year-old Jose Ricardo Garcia-Zavala, or “Joe”, whom the girls met at a bus stop a few weeks earlier, according to police records.

It was then that, according to an arrest affidavit, Angeles-Hernandez provided liquor for the teens.

Sophia’s 15-year-old friend said she saw Sophia drink to excess and found that Sophia was not breathing in the morning. According to the teenage friend, the two 23-year-olds refused to call 911 because they didn’t want any “drama” at the house.

According to an arrest affidavit, Angeles-Hernandez told police he kissed and touched Sophia inappropriately out of “temptation.” Sophia’s friend also told officers in the morning Angeles-Hernandez had “hickies” on his neck that weren’t there the night before.

Angeles-Hernandez is not currently in custody. His bond is set at $100,000.

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