Left: Alexia circa, 1997
Right: Age Progressed to age 9
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: June 1, 1997
Missing From: Elk Grove, Sacramento County, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: September 23, 1991
Age: 5 years old
Height and Weight: 3’0″ and 40 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial Female; Alexia is white and Asian, Brown hair, Brown eyes
NCMEC Number: 839131
Details of Disappearance
Alexia Reale was last seen in the Elk Grove area of California at some point around the date June 1st 1997. Investigators only learned of her disappearance after Alexia’s maternal grandmother called with concerns for her and her older sister, Jessica. When investigators asked where Alexia was, they were told that the child was sent to live with her biological father, Charles Cheng, in the Chicago area of Illinois.
Cheng denied that he had Alexia and said he hadn’t seen the child since months before she disappeared. Investigators started to doubt her mother and stepfathers claims immediately but continued to investigate Alexia’s disappearance through the summer of 1997.
The truth of what happened to Alexia was revealed in the fall of that year when one of Jessica’s school teachers noticed she had chemical burns on her body. She told authorities that her stepfather, Larry Carrasco, had souses her with bleach in an effort to “exorcise” her “demons”. She then told investigators about the abuse brought upon her and the abuse that would ultimately lead to Alexia’s death.
Jessica told police that her and Alexia lived relatively normal lives until February of 1997. This is when Larry suddenly stopped working. He and the children’s mother, Barbara Carrasco, began using the drug Methamphetamine at the time which caused them both to behave in erratic ways.
The family at one point took a automobile trip to Pennsylvania for 8 days and during the trip, they repeatedly spoke of demons and vampire people coming after them. Jessica gold police that physical and mental abuse started in the winter of that same year. She said their parents both became convinced that her and Alexia were possessed by spirits.
Jessica also said that she and Alexia were locked in a bedroom for a 5 day period and were both forced to drink and eat bleach laced ice cream, milk shakes, and hamburgers. Barbara and Larry beloved this would exorcise the demons. Jessica helped Alexia to vomit up the consumptions but their parents soon picked up on this and locked Alexia in a closet.
Jessica emerged from the bedroom at some point around June 1st 1997 and witnesses her sister lying motionless on the ground. Alexia was pale and appeared to be dead. Barbara was standing next to her body and attempted CPR before realizing and announcing that she was deceased.
Accounts differ as to how exactly she died. When the couple were arrested, they both blamed one another for what happened to Alexia. Barbara told her bail bondsmen that Larry tied the child to a chair and proceeded to drown her before dismembering her remains and burning it in the fire place.
Larry then claimed that Barbara had smothered the child in an attempt to exorcise the demons but she died and her body was dismembered and burned in the fireplace. In both accounts, Alexia’s ashes were spread in the Sacramento River.
Authorities have stated that Alexia died as a result of bleach poisoning. Jessica testified that her sister died after the 8 days they were instructed to drink the concoctions and that her sisters body was placed in the master bedroom closet shortly after it was discovered that she died.
Authorities also said that Alexia’s body was stored inside a freezer for a few days before her body was dismembered and burned in the fire place at the family’s home. The tools used for the dismemberment were either a prune saw or a meat cleaver. After the remains were burned, they were scattered in the Sacramento River along with the tools used.
Jessica admitted to investigators that she lied about her sisters disappearance when it was first discovered. After Alexia’s death, she was instructed to tell anyone who asked where she was to say that the child went to live with her father.
Larry and Barbara were both convicted of Alexia’s murder and additional child abuse charges in 2000. Larry was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison and Barbara was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. She did come up for parole in 2014, Jessica attended the hearing and asked the parole board to not let her out. She told them that she was never a real mother to her or Alexia.
One of Barbara’s previous husbands and Jessica recall how Barbara intentionally burned the bottom of Alexia’s foot with a cigarette lighter as they enabled form her high chair. Barbara also once stated she never liked the child. She was denied parole for another 3 years.
Alexia’s remains have never been located but foul play is suspected in her disappearance. Her missing persons case was closed in late 2004. Her disappearance remains classified as a non family abduction with some agencies.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Sacramento Police Department 916-443-4357
Federal Bureau of Investigation 916-481-9110