MONUMENT, Colo. — A couple who had custody of a girl whose body was found in a vacant Colorado home were arrested Wednesday in Nevada, authorities said.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said Hanif Sims and his girlfriend, Monique Lynch, were arrested at a motel in Henderson.
Sims is the father of 9-year-old Genesis Sims, whose body was found May 14 in the crawl space of a vacant town house in Monument, about 50 miles south of Denver. Construction workers doing renovations found the body.
Authorities said Tuesday that tests showed the body was that of Genesis, who had lived in the town house with Sims and Lynch. The cause of death has not been determined.
Investigators had been looking for the couple, who moved out of the home early last year. An arrest warrant was issued for Hanif Sims on child abuse and second-degree assault charges on June 4, sheriff’s Lt. Lari Sevene said.
Maketa said El Paso County investigators flew to Nevada on Wednesday night to talk to Sims and Lynch about Genesis.
Investigators think that Sims and Lynch lived in the Union Rescue Mission homeless shelter in Los Angeles from March until December 2009.
A couple claiming to be Hanif Sims and Monique Lynch told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that they found Genesis unconscious in the bathroom and hid her body after having a ceremony with prayers and flowers.
KRDO-TV reported the couple called the station Monday, saying they wanted to give their side of the story before turning themselves in. The station said it confirmed their identities using details from its investigation into the case.
The woman claiming to be Lynch said the couple moved Genesis to a bed and tried giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She said they decided to bury her in the crawl space two days later.