Details Revealed in 4-Yr-Olds Death in Mendota

FRESNO, Calif. What started as a few candles is now an elaborate memorial with flowers, balloons and stuffed animals, all to remember Alex Mercado. Investigators accuse his neighbor Raul Castro of murdering Alex last Friday.

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In a search warrant released Thursday, investigators state Raul's mother Elsa Castro allowed a sheriff's deputy to search her home a day after Alex disappeared: "Deputy Hamilton stated he entered the unit and started his search in the kitchen area. He observed [Elsa Castro], now in the unit, walk directly to the clothes dryer. She opened the dryer door and immediately began screaming."

In the dryer, Alex's body was discovered.

Detectives brought Raul to the Mendota Police Department where they say he confessed to sexually assaulting and killing Alex. We also learned they detained his mother Elsa Castro and obtained evidence to see if she is connected to the crime. The same court document indicates, investigators collected DNA swabs from the suspect's mother.

Alex Mercado Memorial Fund
Account # 0261977268
Westamerica Bank

ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi explains why, "What the police want to determine is whether or not DNA evidence from the mother is on the victim's body it his clothes or anywhere on his body."

A spokesperson for the Fresno County Sheriff refused to elaborate on Elsa's possible role. Her teenage son remains in custody facing more than 30 years in prison.

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