HOUSTON — The person who abducted a 6-week-old girl after her mother was fatally stabbed in her Houston apartment likely knew the infant’s family and might even be a woman who has recently lost a child, police said Wednesday.

The possibility Shamali Flores might have been taken by someone who’s lost a child is still only a theory, but the circumstances of the infant’s disappearance fit similar cases that have taken place in other parts of the country, said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Acevedo said besides the infant, nothing was taken from the apartment where 33-year-old Carolina Flores was killed. Her body was discovered around midday Tuesday.

“The public needs to really think about, especially in this area, anyone who all of a sudden has a child that you weren’t aware they were pregnant,” Acevedo said. “Also think about people that may have lost a child recently. That may be someone we may be interested in talking to.”

Police initially said they believed the baby was with her father, Marcos Mariano Palacios. But he was found late Tuesday in San Antonio and Shamali wasn’t with him.

Police had initially identified the father as Thomas Bernardez but said Wednesday that was an alias.

Authorities say Palacios is not considered a suspect or person of interest in the woman’s death.

Investigators on Wednesday continued speaking with Carolina Flores’ family and neighbors and planned to use bloodhounds to search the woman’s apartment complex.

Douglas Williams, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston office, said his agency’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team is on the ground in Houston helping with the search.

“We are not going to stop searching … because the Flores family deserves to have Shamali in their hands. She deserves to have a life with her family,” Acevedo said.


This story has been corrected to show the first name of the infant girl is Shamali not Shanally and the name of the father is Marcos Mariano Palacios, not Thomas Bernardez, which police say was an alias.


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JUAN A. LOZANO
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