The girl's body was found by police early Monday morning. The mother was discovered in a nearby apartment with superficial knife wounds on her hands and wrists.
The young girl was stabbed 11 times. Her mother is said to originally have told police that it was self-defense; she claimed her 6-year-old daughter had come at her with a knife. But, since then, police say the mother's story has changed. Now she says she feared her daughter had been possessed by devil, because recently, she had begun sleepwalking.
The little girl lay dead for several hours. She was on the floor in her bedroom, police say. The girl's 25-year-old mother eventually decided to go to a neighbor's house. The neighbor called the police.
"The first statement we received from the defendant was that it was an act of self-defense," said Stephen Scheller, Lake County assistant state's attorney. "After she made that statement to detectives, she later recanted it, made a second statement, which she admitted that in fact she had stabbed her daughter multiple times about the body."
Nelly Vasquez-Salazar is described as having been calm during her talks with detectives, but she broke down in tears in court Tuesday morning, as prosecutors described what they believe led to the death of 6-year-old Evelyn, including a phone call between Nelly Vasquez-Salazar and her mother in Mexico several weeks ago.
"In summary, Nelly said my daughter is sleepwalking, she called mom for advice, her mom said she might be possessed, and then Nelly took it for whatever she took it for," said Det. Domenic Cappelluti, Waukegan Police.
In the apartment, police found a butcher knife believed to be a murder weapon, along with a religious picture of Saint Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus. The photo had also been cut up with a knife.
"During the entire video that was videotaped, she for the most part was calm, answered all our questions, offered information," said Cappelluti.
Evelyn Vasquez was born in Denver, where her father now lives, but she lived with her grandmother in Mexico until last summer when she moved with her mom to Waukegan. Evelyn attended Spaulding Elementary School in Gurnee.
Police say they found no evidence of trouble in the months leading up to the girl's murder.
"During her statements, the videotaped statement that she would blame certain incidents and people besides herself at first, but then later stating she blamed herself for how she murdered her daughter," said Cappelluti.
As the police detective turned Vasquez-Salazar over to sheriff's deputies in Waukegan, they say she broke down and began sobbing, and said, "I don't deserve to live."