16-year-old identified after she was picked up from Niko Niko's and later found dead 55 miles away

Eyewitness News confirmed Emily Rodriguez-Avila worked two restaurant jobs and lived in Houston's Memorial area.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022
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Emily Rodriguez-Avila was identified as the 16-year-old whose body was found with a gunshot wound and Niko Niko's work clothing in Liberty County.

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Liberty County sheriff's deputies released the name of a 16-year-old girl whose body was found dumped on a rural road over the weekend but didn't offer much more in a multi-county mystery on Thursday.

Emily Rodriguez-Avila was identified as the teenager who was found with a gunshot wound Sunday morning on the side of County Road 3550, near County Road 5708, on the north end of the county.

Rodriguez-Avila's body was found wearing a hairnet, shirt, and blue cap with the business name of "Niko's" on them, the sheriff's office initially said early in the investigation.

"The Sheriff's Office is still waiting on autopsy results to determine other factors as the investigation continues," a Liberty County news release stated Thursday.

Despite law enforcement's tight-lipped nature in the days following the discovery, Eyewitness News was able to confirm that the teen worked two jobs in Houston's Memorial area: at a McDonald's and at Niko Niko's near I-10 and the West Beltway.

ABC13's coverage of the inter-county murder mystery:

Niko Niko's managers told ABC13 that Emily worked the Saturday evening before her body was found, deepening a mystery that stretches 55 miles between her workplace and the rural road.

An Eyewitness News source also reported that surveillance cameras captured what may have been the last recorded sign of her alive when she was seen getting into a friend's car as she left Niko Niko's.

The source adds a relative usually picked her up from work, but she told her relative that a friend was picking her up on Saturday.

Liberty County investigators couldn't vow to a swift arrest but assured someone will be detained.

"I can't promise anyone is going to get arrested soon," Liberty County Capt. Ken Defoor said on Tuesday. "But, you can rest assured, we're going to find out who did this, and they will be arrested. That is confirmed. They will be arrested."

If you know anything about this case, authorities urge you to contact the Liberty County Sheriff's Office at (936) 336-4500 or Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP.

Tips leading to the responsible person's arrest may receive a cash reward, and the caller's identity will remain anonymous.