12-year-old girl found in creek had been sexually assaulted, Houston Forensic Science Center says

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Monday, July 1, 2024
12-year-old girl tied up, pants taken off when she was strangled, records allege
Court paperwork revealing details about how Jocelyn Nungaray was allegedly lured near a creek before her death. The suspects were also revealed to be prior ICE detainees.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Jocelyn Nungaray, the 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a creek in north Houston in June, appears to have been sexually assaulted, according to test results from the Houston Forensic Science Center.

City sources told ABC13's Courtney Fischer the district attorney's office received the results from HFSC on Sunday.

Johan Jose Martinez Rangel, 22, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, 26, are charged with capital murder in Jocelyn's death. The girl was strangled.

Both men have been arrested, and at last check, remain in jail on $10 million bond.

According to Texas law, because of Jocelyn's age, both men were not eligible for the death penalty.

However, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said last week that if sexual assault were found, that would make the case death penalty eligible, and the state would then be able to ask for no bond.

Investigators said they believe Jocelyn snuck out of her home around 10 p.m. Sunday, June 16.

According to court documents, the two suspects asked her for directions after encountering her on Kuykendahl Road.

Court documents allege that the men then lured Jocelyn underneath a bridge, where they kept her for two hours. She was tied up, had her pants taken off, and was strangled, officials said.

A bystander found her body floating in a creek shortly before 7 a.m. on June 17.

The state added that Jocelyn and the men were seen on video at about 12:57 a.m. on June 17 walking down by the bayou. At 3:04 a.m., only the two men emerged.

An autopsy confirmed her cause of death was strangulation.

The state said it interviewed witnesses who told them they saw the men at Ojos Locos hours before Jocelyn's murder.

According to another witness, Pena confessed he and Martinez did something bad after partying and were looking for money to leave town.

Both men worked construction and allegedly asked their boss for the funds after explaining what happened, the lead prosecutor told ABC13.

It was also revealed in court on Monday that Pena told authorities he tried to tell Martinez to stop, but then Martinez allegedly put his arm around Jocelyn's neck and covered her mouth.

After she died, Martinez allegedly tied her up and told Pena to put her body in the water to remove any DNA. Martinez also reportedly admitted to changing his beard to avoid attention and had a bite mark and scratches on his arm.

After days of investigation, authorities arrested the two men at 13355 Northborough Drive, the Canfield Lakes Apartments.

The suspects, who are Venezuelan nationals, were in the U.S. illegally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said, adding that they didn't know when or where they entered the country.

According to the agency, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended Martinez near El Paso on March 14, but he was released that same day on an order of recognizance with a notice to appear.

U.S. Border Patrol arrested Pena on May 28, also near El Paso. On the same day he was apprehended, a judge also ordered Pena to appear in court later.

Both suspects are placed under ICE holds. So even if they were able to post bond, they can't go anywhere.

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