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LOS ANGELES — A couple found in August with a child’s body in a duffel bag as they tried to cross the U.S.-Mexican border were charged Friday with murder and torture.

Mercy Mary Becerra, 43, and Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, were arrested and charged with four counts of murder, human trafficking to commit pimping/pandering, torture and assault on a child causing death, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

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The couple trafficked a woman between November 2012 and August 2016, according to prosecutors. They also seized the woman’s daughter, then abused, tortured and killed the 2-year-old girl around Aug. 9, authorities said.

Becerra and Hartley were stopped by authorities when they tried to enter the country through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The couple face maximum sentences of life in prison.

Cox National Content Desk |