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Pregnant 10-year-old’s Boyfriend Charged With Sexual Assault

January 24, 1996

HOUSTON (AP) _ A 22-year-old man was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting his 9-year-old girlfriend. The girl, now 10 and 8 1/2 months pregnant, has run away from a youth shelter.

Cindy Garcia gave social workers the slip Sunday, and police were appealing for help in finding her. They said she probably will have to give birth by Caesarean section.

The girl’s lover, Pedro Sotelo, a Mexican national, also was missing Tuesday. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual assault.

Cindy’s mother told caseworkers her daughter had been running away since she was 8 to be with Sotelo.

County social workers discovered Cindy’s pregnancy Jan. 12 when she posed as a 14-year-old seeking welfare benefits for herself and her unborn child.

``She’s a pretty smart little girl,″ police Officer Frank Elizondo said. ``She gave me a false name and date of birth.″

She was taken into custody and examined by a doctor for the first time since she became pregnant, said Judy Hay, a spokeswoman for Harris County Children’s Protective Services.

Cindy disappeared when she went to church with fellow residents of an emergency youth shelter. A girl who fled with her said Cindy mentioned she was going to a relative’s house, leading officials to think she may still be in the Houston area.

Ms. Hay said Cindy fears her child will be taken from her and that she will not be allowed to live with the baby’s father.

Pictures of both Sotelo and Miss Garcia were distributed across the state and at the U.S.-Texas border.

Police fear Sotelo is on his way back to Mexico. If so, extradition would be next to impossible because Mexico and the United States do not have an extradition policy on charges other than murder, state Attorney General Dan Morales said.

Teen-age pregnancy is hardly a new issue to social workers, but Cindy’s case is different, Ms. Hay said.

``She became pregnant at 9,″ she said. ``That’s uncommon.″

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