LAWRENCEVILLE - The case of murder victim Prisi Vasquez - a 2-year-old girl found dead in her parent's former attic in June - is moving forward, though the chief suspects could be thousands of miles away.
A grand jury handed down multiple counts against Vasquez's parents this week related to the child's February 2007 beating death. Federal authorities believe the couple are still hiding in Mexico, where police said they fled last year.
Christian Vasquez, the infant's father, is charged with killing her by striking her head with a blunt object. He was indicted on counts of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and cruelty to children, first degree.
Family members said Vasquez beat the infant to death with a pole.
The charges against the child's mother, Amy Yesenia Ruiz, stem more from her alleged inactions than what she did.
Ruiz faces a count of child cruelty, second degree for failing to seek medical assistance for her dying child. She's also charged with concealing her daughter's death from authorities, the indictment says.
Suspects are sometimes indicted in absentia in an effort to expedite the prosecution process should they be returned to the county. Both suspects are in their early 20s.
Federal authorities teamed with local police and prosecutors to sniff out the couple in Mexico after their daughter's body was discovered in a Stillwater Lane attic June 20.
FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett said the couple - who could be with Ruiz's 5-year-old son from a previous relationship - have yet to be located.
"We would have announced any arrests," Emmett said. "There's nothing to report from our end."
The child's body lay hidden in the attic for about 16 months, while unrelated occupants lived in the apartment beneath. Earlier this year, Ruiz called her father in Gwinnett to tell him where the body was, and he went to police with the information, authorities said.
Ruiz's family contends her husband forced her to leave the country after his temper overtook him and he killed the child. When Ruiz tried to call 911 to help her daughter her husband beat her up, her family has said.
Ruiz is a legal U.S. citizen reared in Buford, while her husband is a native of Mexico who had not gained citizenship, family members said.