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Long Beach man accused of murdering 9-year-old stepdaughter to cover up sex abuse

Xiomara Fernandez
Xiomara Fernandez
Photo courtesy KNBC

The story of the 9-year-old girl murdered in Long Beach gets even worse, as authorities now say the man in custody killed her to cover up months of sexual abuse.

According to the L.A. Times, police believe 31-year-old Jacinto Zuniga Trujillo, stepfather to Xiomara Fernandez, stabbed her to death last Saturday, April 28, following several months of sexual abuse. The girl’s body was found in the parking lot of Los Altos United Methodist Church, with a message nearby written in blood.

A witness passing by the grisly scene said she also saw a man there near the girl’s body, suffering from what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds. The man was arrested and later identified as Trujillo.

Court filings by the District Attorney’s Office could allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Trujillo. District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Trujillo is also accused of five counts of sexual assault against the child, according to charges filed Tuesday.

The contents of the bloody message, described in the Times as “letters written in blood ... on the side of what appeared to be a gray container,” have not been released.

Although court filings did not reveal the victim's full name, NBC filed a report on Monday in which reporters spoke with her grieving mother. According to that story, Trujillo lived with Xiomara's mother for 10 years and was a part of the family.

The Los Altos United Methodist Church website also names the young victim as Xiomara Fernandez, and Pastor Mark Urlickson gave a sermon about her the morning after the horrible discovery. The sermon begins, “A life has been taken, a future of possibilities has been extinguished. We have lost a member of our family.”

Here is the full NBC report, with pictures of the suspect and victim:

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