Facebook message led to arrests in child's death

Published July 9, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A Facebook message led investigators to a couple suspected in the death of a girl whose body was found in a vacant Colorado home, authorities said Thursday.

Hanif Sims and his girlfriend, Monique Lynch, both 29, were arrested Wednesday in Henderson, Nev. The El Paso County sheriff's department issued arrest warrants Thursday for both on suspicion of child abuse resulting in death.

The two were being held in jail on $500,000 bond each. The sheriff's office has started extradition proceedings to return them to Colorado.

Investigators had been looking for the couple since the body of Sims' daughter, 9-year-old Genesis, was found May 14 in the crawl space of a town home in Monument, about 50 miles south of Denver. The cause of death hasn't been determined.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said detectives tracked a Facebook message, which the couple wrote to a Colorado Springs TV station, back to a motel. He said the two were sleeping when Henderson police arrived.

An arrest warrant was issued for Sims in June for suspected second-degree assault and misdemeanor child abuse. Deputy Teresa Murphy said the warrants issued for the pair were sealed.

Lynch had been arrested on a probation violation out of New Jersey, and it's unclear if she would be sent to that state first.

Maketa said the couple have cooperated with investigators.

"We're getting some good information that helps us fill in the blanks in this case," he said.

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.

The couple moved out of the home early last year. Investigators believed that Sims and Lynch lived in a Los Angeles homeless shelter from March until December 2009.

The couple's two other children weren't with them when they were arrested.

Lt. Lari Sevene of the sheriff's department said the couple left the children with a friend in California, and that the boys were later taken into custody by the California Department of Human Services.

Written by Associated Press

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