On February 28, 2019, a Collin County jury sentenced Ivan Merida, 35, of Royce City, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, announced Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis. "Collin County children are forever safe from this predator because this brave child found the courage to tell a family member," added Willis.
Merida had ongoing access to the child. He sexually abused her over the course of more than a year, while telling her not to tell anyone. But after she turned 11 years old, she began to harm herself because of the abuse. A family member noticed and, after being asked about it, the child disclosed the abuse.
Investigator Fernando Robledo with the Collin County Sheriff's Office investigated the case. The child was forensically interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County and disclosed the details of the abuse.
The jury returned a verdict of guilty and assessed a punishment of life in prison. By law, a sentence for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child is without eligibility for parole.
Assistant District Attorneys Geeta Singletary and Nick Lawrance prosecuted the case, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Kim Eanes, Victim Assistance Coordinator Casey Hendrix, and Legal Secretary Erin Fontenot.