Houston/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 21, 2024
Houston Girl's Strangulation Death: Two Venezuelan Nationals Charged, Immigration Status at Center of DebateSource: Houston Police Department

The Houston community is grappling with the tragic loss of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray, whose body was found early Monday morning in the shallow water of a creek. Jocelyn's untimely death has been ruled as strangulation by the medical examiner. Two Venezuelan nationals have been arrested and charged with capital murder: 21-year-old Johan Jose Rangel Martinez and 26-year-old Franklin Jose Pena Ramos. FOX26 Houston reports that both are confirmed to have entered the U.S. illegally and now face immigration detainers by ICE, with their residency status playing a focal role in the broader discussion.

Sen. Ted Cruz has echoed the immigration status of the suspects in his call for policy changes, stating, "These men are illegal aliens and Jocelyn Nungaray would still be alive and with her family if not for Joe Biden’s open border policies," as obtained by FOX26 Houston. He goes on to urge immediate action, linking the murder directly to the administration's current immigration policies. The Houston Police Department, meanwhile, has been piecing together the events leading up to Jocelyn's death with help from surveillance footage that shows the girl in the company of Martinez and Ramos, according to a CBS affiliate KHOU-TV report.

The investigation intensified when one of the suspects allegedly attempted to escape arrest by jumping off a balcony. Residents of the apartment complex recounted to KHOU-TV, that at about 4 a.m., police arrived and used a loudspeaker to demand the men to come out. When they did not comply, the officers approached, leading to Martinez's attempted flight, a neighbor said. Jocelyn's encounter with the suspects was tracked all the way to the scene of the crime via video surveillance, Acting Houston Police Chief Larry Satterwhite remarked, praising the department's determined efforts in identifying and capturing the killers.

Awaiting the results of a sexual assault exam, the full extent of the harrowing ordeal suffered by Jocelyn remains to be seen. Her mother, Alexis Nungaray, mourned the loss of her daughter, describing her to KHOU-TV as "spunky, goofy, and loving." "You took my baby away, you took her away," she lamented, conveying the breach of innocence and life snatched far too soon. As the investigation continues, Houston PD is urging anyone with information to step forward, in a collective effort to provide justice for the young girl and her grieving family.