‘We never gave up’: Arrest made 19 years after baby girl’s body found in Medina County

Maricela V. Frausto, 44, of Hondo, charged in 2004 Baby Hope Medina cold case

HONDO, Texas – An arrest was made Monday night in connection with the 2004 Baby Hope Medina cold case.

Maricela V. Frausto, 44, of Hondo, has been charged with capital murder-person under 10 years of age, according to Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown.

Frausto is the biological mother of the baby who was found dead by a rancher along County Road 448, north of Hondo in Medina County on Sept. 20, 2004.

Brown was a chief deputy the night Baby Hope was discovered.

“It’s just something you don’t forget about,” he said. “I remember us saying a prayer.”

Brown said he was the one who named her.

“Out of hope -- it became baby Hope,” said Brown.

He promised to find Baby Hope’s killer, and DNA evidence helped connect the dots.

Brown said Frausto was arrested at her sister’s house on Monday night. He watched as deputies arrested her.

Brown said Frausto didn’t say anything.

“Talking was over,” Brown said. “That opportunity had gone away a long time ago.”

Frausto’s bond was set at $1 million, and she will be monitored by GPS, according to a news release. She is expected to be arraigned in January.

“It’s time to pay the fiddler,” Brown said. “And that’s what she’s going to do.”

“The day this sweet little perfect baby girl was discovered, she was etched in the hearts and minds of all the officers involved and soon after the community,” Brown said. “That night on that county road, she was named, ‘Baby Hope’ with ‘Hope’ and a prayer that we would find who was responsible for this horrible, horrible crime.”

“A promise was made that day to never forget and to never give up. Since that day, that promise was never broken,” Brown added.

An autopsy showed the girl was born alive, according to The Doe Network. However, it is unknown if she died before she was placed in the brush.

Her body showed no signs of trauma, and she was reportedly abandoned within six hours of being found.

She was never identified, and she was buried in Hondo.

About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.