The mother and stepfather of Riley Ann Sawyers, who Texas authorities believe is "Baby Grace," tortured and beat the child on the day she died, according to an affidavit filed with Galveston County authorities in connection with the case.
Kimberly Ann Trenor, 19, and her 24-year-old husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler, both of Spring, Texas, are being held in connection with the 2-year-old girl's death on charges of injuring a child and tampering with evidence. The two remain in custody in Galveston County jail, each on $350,000 bond.
In the affidavit, Trenor describes how she and Zeigler beat the toddler with two leather belts and held her head under water in a bathtub on the morning of July 24. Trenor also said in the affivadit that Zeigler picked the child up by her hair and threw her across the room causing her head to slam against a tile floor.
After Sawyers died, Trenor said in the affidavit to the Sheriff's Office, Zeigler covered the child in a purple towel and the pair then went to a Wal-Mart to purchase items to hide and dispose of the body, including a blue plastic container, bleach, a shovel and latex gloves.
According to the affidavit, Trenor said Zeigler hid the container with the remains in a storage shed for two months before the pair tossed the container into the water off Galveston Causeway.
Meanwhile, Sawyers' father and grandmother publicly wept Monday as they demanded justice in the child's "heinous" death.
"It's very rough," said Robert Sawyers, who was Trenor's high school sweetheart. "I'm just so stressed out through all of this ... I keep saying that 'it's hard' would be an understatement."
Texas investigators announced on Monday that they are "fairly confident" the little girl found late last month, stuffed in a plastic box, is the missing child.
"It was a few weeks ago that I held up this shoe and asked, 'Who is Baby Grace?'" Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo, a spokesman for the Galveston County sheriff's office, said during a news conference in which he announced the weekend arrests of the girl's mother and stepfather in connection with the little girl's disappearance and death.
The pair could face additional charges, Tuttoilmondo said, including possible murder charges.
The arrests come nearly a month after a fisherman in West Galveston Bay discovered the locked box abandoned on a small island. Inside was the body of a child who had suffered a head wound. Authorities appealed to the public for help, releasing a composite sketch of a child they called Baby Grace. Hundreds of tips from around the world poured into the Galveston County sheriff's office.
One of those involved Sawyers, a little girl who was last seen in July, when Trenor reportedly gave her to someone who presented her with custody documents that appeared legitimate, ABC News' Houston affiliate KTRK first reported last week. However, the child was never reported missing to police.
Late last week, detectives requested DNA samples from eight families with missing children resembling Baby Grace. One of the samples was submitted by Robert Sawyers, who still lives in Mentor, Ohio, the town where his daughter lived until her mother left with the girl for Texas.
The tip that Baby Grace might be Sawyers originally came from her paternal grandmother, Sheryl Sawyers, who phoned investigators after she saw the Baby Grace sketch on the Internet.