A Mesa man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and attempting to commit child abuse in a case involving a 3-year-old girl who was discovered duct-taped and covered in feces in his closet in 2016, officials said.

Francisco Rios-Covarrubias pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of kidnapping and three counts of attempt to commit child abuse, said Bryan Bouchard, spokesman for the Maricopa County Superior Court. 

Police found the child in January 2016 with her legs and arms bound and duct tape over her mouth in the Mesa home. The girl was covered in feces and inside a black trash bag with nothing but her head exposed, police said.

Police said they were alerted by a man who said the girl was offered to him for sex. Police initially indicated the girl also had been sexually abused.

“The level of neglect was so harsh that the girl could not stand on her own,” then-Mesa Police Chief John Mezza said at the time.

Authorities said the girl’s 22-year-old mother placed the child in the care of Rios-Covarrubias. Both the mother and Rios-Covarrubias pleaded not guilty to multiple felony-abuse charges in February 2016.

Rios-Covarrubias’ sentencing is scheduled for the morning of Sept. 27 before Judge Warren Granville, Bouchard said.

Information about the status of the girl’s mother was not available. The Arizona Republic typically does not identify sexual-assault victims and has chosen not to identify the woman to protect the child’s identity.



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