Family reacts to baby's death

By Vanessa Murphy |, Chris Benka

Published 08/03 2015 11:04PM

Updated 08/03 2015 11:20PM

The family of a 2-month old baby girl who was found dead in a dumpster is expressing shock and disbelief about the alleged crime.

Maria Gallegos is mourning the loss of her two-month old niece Jessica.

North Las Vegas Police found the girl’s body in a dumpster Sunday near a recreation center at Allen Lane and Alexander Road.

Police arrested Jessica’s father, 24-year-old Mason Henderson, for first degree murder.

“I held her so many times, and when I held her that last time, she just, she was so beautiful and smiley, and she knew she was loved,” Gallegos said. “This came to a shock to every one of us.”

Police say the child's mother returned home from work after midnight Sunday and found the couple's 1-year-old daughter alone; Henderson and the infant were missing.

The next morning, Gallegos says her sister learned her fiancé was arrested, and her baby was dead.

“They were very happy, and I know my sister right now is devastated, because she thinks of that happiness and what is happening now,” Gallegos said. “It is just incredible. It's not easy to believe.”

The couple's Facebook pages show a happy family.

“Mason, we always saw him as one of the greatest dads,” Gallegos said.

Gallegos and close family friend Michael Cox say both parents worked at Walmart on opposite shifts. The couple was together for a few years and showed no signs of unhappiness.

“It dumbfounded everybody,” Cox said. “I couldn't tell you what was in, what was going on. Obviously, something happened. Only God and him would know that.”

They say they're not against Henderson, but they're not supporting him either. They're waiting for more information from police while so many questions remain.

“This is just a tragedy that we just need to help them get through,” Cox said.

Henderson also faces a child endangerment charge, since police say he left his 1-year-old daughter home alone.

A vigil is planned for Baby Jessica Thursday at 8 p.m. near Alexander and Allen. The family has also established a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses.

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