A Kansas City, Kansas man is facing five felonies related to the killing of a young mother and the severe beating of her 4-year-old child after both were found in their East Meyer residence over the weekend.
Jose E. Escalante-Corchado, 28, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, assault to a special victim and child endangerment. Escalante-Corchado is being held in Jackson County jail without bond, according to prosecutors.
Police have identified the woman killed as Mackenzie Hopkins, 24. Her daughter remains hospitalized with severe injuries, according to court records, though police said this week her condition had improved.
The woman and child were found after Kansas City police were dispatched Saturday to the 7300 block of Wabash Avenue for a welfare check. Officers met with the father of Hopkins, who attempted to use his key to unlock the door, but found that it was unlocked.
Inside the home officers found Hopkins submerged in the bathtub. Her 4-year-old was on the bed suffering from severe head trauma that appeared to have been caused by blunt force, a detective wrote in charging documents filed in Jackson County.
Blood was found on the main floor of the home. There were large pools and drag marks indicating Hopkins had been moved. Shoe impressions were also left behind that investigators determined came from soles made by Ariat, a cowboy boot manufacturer.
Detectives spoke with a friend of the victim the following day in Kansas City, Kansas. On the front porch, they saw a pair of cowboy boots that matched the description of those thought to have left footprints at the scene of the crime. The friend of the victim told investigators the boots belonged to her boyfriend, Escalante-Corchado, according to court records.
Detectives later learned that the victim had called 911 on Saturday morning, roughly 14 hours before she and her child were found. An open line recorded what sounded like two parties fighting, court records state.
Based on footage from nearby traffic and surveillance cameras, authorities allege Escalante-Corchado was on the block of Hopkins’ home around the time the 911 call was placed. A person matching his description was seen coming and going from the home, and spent an estimated two hours in the area, court records allege.
During an interview with police, Escalante allegedly admitted to being in the area near around the time authorities believe she was killed. But he denied any involvement in the death, according to court records.
Kansas City police initially classified the investigation as a suspicious death. But Officer Donna Drake, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday following the announcement of criminal charges that the matter was being investigated as a homicide.
In a GoFundMe created this week, Hopkins was described as “an incredible sister, daughter, friend, and mother” who was “taken from this world in a senseless crime.”
“Her beautiful little girl was also severely injured and is fighting in the ICU,” the webpage says. “Her only wish would be for her sweet little girl to recover as quickly as possible.”