A Dallas woman accused of killing a mother and taking her baby was in the country illegally when she allegedly committed the crime.
Yesenia Sesmas, 34, was released from a Kansas jail this summer before immigration officials had a chance to request she be held, law enforcement authorities said Wednesday.
Police said last Thursday Sesmas traveled to Wichita to murder Laura Abarca-Nogueda, 27, after faking a pregnancy for months.
Police allege she stole the woman's one-week old daughter Sophia and then took her back to Texas to pass as her own.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not receive the July 25 list of arrests from the Sedgwick County sheriff's office showing Sesmas' name on it until the following day, and by that time she had already been released from local custody, said ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok.
The agency would have asked that she be detained if Sesmas, a Mexican national, had still been in jail, he said.
Sesmas posted bond and was released less than 24 hours after her arrest in that case, said Col. Brenda Dietzman, undersheriff for the Sedgwick County sheriff's office.
Even if ICE had made the request, it is not clear that the county would have honored it.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter announced in 2014 that the jail would no longer honor ICE requests to hold inmates unless the agency presents a warrant or court order requiring them to hold an inmate in custody longer.
Police say that Sesmas knew her alleged victim, 27-year-old Laura Abarca-Nogueda (pictured with her baby girl), for years
Baby Sophia is now in the care of her family members, after being found safe at Sesmas' Dallas residence
The policy change stems from a 3rd Circuit appeals court ruling finding a Pennsylvania jail unjustly held a man on suspicion he might be in the country unlawfully after he posted bail.