Prosecutors: Mother strangled in front of two-year-old son

Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 21:16:56-05

Prosecutors say a young woman found dead in her car earlier this week had been strangled in front of her two-year-old child.

In court Thursday, family members sobbed as prosecutors alleged Melisa Contreras had died at the hands of Uriel Leon, who is the father of two of her children.

Prosecutors say surveillance video in the house showed that the couple appeared to be fighting. Contreras sat in the driver's seat of her car, and shortly after, Leon is seen approaching the car with their son.

Later in the video, Leon is seen getting into the vehicle with their child, seating himself directly behind Contreras. That's when prosecutors say Leon strangled Contreras as she sat in the driver's seat.

Leon, who was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, pleaded not guilty on Thursday. He faces 25 years-to-life in prison if convicted.

Leon is being held on $2 million bail.

Contreras leaves behind three children, and a judge issued a protective order that keeps Leon away from his children.

Contreras' family declined to talk on camera.