Kansas man accused of murdering woman, bludgeoning her 4-year-old daughter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas man is accused of killing a woman and severely beating her 4-year-old daughter, authorities said.

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Jose E. Escalante-Corchado, 28, of Kansas City has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, assault to a special victim and child endangerment, according to The Kansas City Star.

Escalante-Corchado is being held in the Jackson County jail without bond, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, police in Kansas City, Missouri, responded to a home just before 6 p.m. CST on Saturday for a welfare check, WDAF-TV reported. Officers discovered Mackenzie Hopkins, 24, dead in a bathtub and her 4-year-old daughter, who had suffered severe trauma to her head, the television station reported.

The child was originally listed in critical condition, but police have said this week that her condition has improved, the Star reported.

According to police, Hopkins had been killed elsewhere in the home and had been dragged to the bathtub, where she was submerged in water, KCTV-TV reported.

Detectives later discovered that Hopkins had called 911 around 6 a.m. CST that morning and that the dispatcher had heard people fighting on the open line, the television station reported. The victim’s father attempted to use his key to unlock the front door, but the door opened, court documents show.

Within the blood at the home, police found the print of a specific type of boot and later found a pair of footwear they identified as belonging to Escalante-Corchado, KCTV reported.

Kansas City police initially classified the investigation as a suspicious death. But Officer Donna Drake, a department spokesperson, said in a statement Tuesday that the case was being investigated as a homicide.

“It’s something I could never imagine. It hurts as her sister. It hurts as her friend. She was one of the most positive forces in my life,” Shawna Hopkins, Mackenzie Hopkins’ sister-in-law, told WDAF. “Nothing can make this right, but justice must be served.”

“It’s just shocking to everybody,” Michelle Bishop, Mackenzie Hopkins’ aunt, told the television station. “I don’t think anybody wants to believe these things can happen, especially to somebody and affecting somebody you know.”