A Facebook message led investigators to a couple who had custody of a girl whose body was found in a vacant Colorado home, authorities said Thursday.
Hanif Sims and his girlfriend, Monique Lynch, both 29, were arrested Wednesday in Henderson, Nev. El Paso County investigators had been looking for the couple since the body of 9-year-old Genesis Sims was found May 14 in the crawl space of a town home in Monument, about 50 miles south of Denver.
The couple moved out of the home early last year. Investigators believed that Sims and Lynch lived in a Los Angeles homeless shelter from March until December 2009.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said detectives tracked a message the couple wrote to a Colorado Springs TV station back to a motel. He said the two were sleeping when Henderson police arrived at the motel.
An arrest warrant was issued for Sims in June for suspected second-degree assault and misdemeanor child abuse. Deputy Teresa Murphy said a warrant was being prepared for Lynch for suspected child abuse resulting in death.
Murphy said both warrants will be sealed and declined to comment further.
The sheriff's department is trying to extradite the couple, Murphy said. Lynch was arrested on a probation violation out of New Jersey, and it's unclear if she would be sent there first.
Maketa said so far, the couple have cooperated with investigators. "We're getting some good information that helps us fill in the blanks in this case," he said.
Investigators had been looking for Lynch and Sims since construction workers found the child's body. Authorities said Tuesday that tests had identified the body as that of Genesis Sims. The cause of death hasn't been determined.
A couple claiming to be Hanif Sims and Monique Lynch told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that they found Genesis unconscious in the bathroom and hid her body after having a ceremony with prayers and flowers.
KRDO-TV reported the couple called the station Monday, saying they wanted to give their side of the story before turning themselves in. The station said it confirmed their identities using details from its investigation into the case.
The woman claiming to be Lynch said the couple moved Genesis to a bed and tried giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She said they decided to bury her in the crawl space two days later.
The couple's two other children weren't with the couple when they were arrested. Lt. Lari Sevene of the sheriff's department said the couple left the children with a friend in California and the boys were later taken by the California Department of Human Services.
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