Police believe they have found the body of a three-month-old baby sealed inside a concrete box in Brooklyn. Now they want to know if the child died of natural causes he was murdered by a suspected sex trafficker.
Drug Enforcement and Immigration agents joined NYPD officers in the search for the baby boy's body at 915 40th Street in Sunset Park Wednesday afternoon. Domingo Salazar and his wife Norma Mendez have been arrested and are now charged in connection with a federal sex trafficking investigation.
Officials say Salazar brought at least one Mexican woman to New York and physically abused her. She had a baby and police said she claims the baby died from 'natural causes.' Police have removed the concrete box and taken it to the Medical Examiner's office to try to determine the exact cause of death.
Investigators said two years ago, Salazar had been deported on unrelated drug charges. They said he later returned to New York to run the sex ring. Officials said he let prostitutes keep 17 dollars per trick while he pocketed the rest.
Salazar's wife was also arrested in connection with this case. The pair is expected to be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn late Wednesday.
Police said x-rays confirm there is a baby's body inside the box. Investigators will now have to remove the body for an autopsy. As for Salazar, investigators said he beat the mother of the baby who was brought here from Mexico.
When authorities freed the woman Tuesday night, they found she had a broken nose, a right eye nearly swollen shut, a two to three inch scar from a knife cut to her inner right forearm, bruises to both shoulders and a mangled left middle finger that appeared to have been broken.
The woman, in her early 20s, said she had been forced to become a prostitute to reimburse Salazar for smuggling her to the States and to support their child. She was kept a prisoner inside the Sunset Park apartment, allowed out only to service as many as 15 Johns a day, authorities said. For almost two years, the couple abused the woman for failing to make enough money, not paying Mendez enough respect and for having the baby, officials said. She was slapped and punched, beaten with a brick and a board and cut with a knife, officials said.
"The trafficking of human beings and sex slavery are unconscionable in this day and age and will not be tolerated," said U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell.