3 arrested in death of Niko Niko's employee whose body was found 55 miles away, authorities say

Emily Rodriguez-Avila's body was found on Sept. 4, more than 50 miles away from work where she was last seen alive.

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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Three people have been arrested in the death of a Niko Niko's employee whose body was found in Liberty County on Sept. 4, authorities say.

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Three people have been arrested in connection with the death of a 16-year-old girl, whose body was found in Liberty County, more than 50 miles from where she was last seen alive at work.

Kevin Rivera-Ortiz, 19; Joel Garcia-Martinez, 20; and Katherine Alvarez-Flores, 20, have been charged with murder. Alvarez-Flores was given an additional charge of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, according to a release from the Liberty County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.

Authorities said Alvarez-Flores, who is being held on a $1.5 million bond, was arrested a couple of days ago, while Rivera-Ortiz and Garcia-Martinez were arrested Tuesday in Houston. Rivera-Ortiz was also reported to be Rodriguez-Avila's ex-boyfriend.

Emily Rodriguez-Avila was identified as the teenager who was found with a gunshot wound the morning of Sept. 4 on the side of County Road 3550, near County Road 5708, on the north end of the county.

The 16-year-old was last seen getting into a friend's car as she left Niko Niko's restaurant on I-10 and the Beltway the night before. Sources said a relative usually picked her up from work, but she told her relative that a friend was picking her up on Saturday. That was the last time anyone saw her alive.

Rodriguez-Avila's body was found the following morning 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.

Staff at Niko Niko's Greek and American Cafe near Beltway 8 confirmed with ABC13 earlier this month that Rodriguez-Avila was one of their employees. They declined to go on camera but said they are devastated by the news.

According to the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, an investigation is ongoing to determine the motive behind Rodriguez-Avila's murder.

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