Community invited to funeral services for 12-year-old murder victim Jocelyn Nungaray

Charly Edsitty Image
Thursday, June 27, 2024
Community invited to funeral for 12-year-old girl found dead in creek
The public is invited to attend both a funeral service and a celebration of life happening on Thursday for 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray will say a final goodbye on Thursday after she was found dead in a creek in north Houston last week.

The public is invited to attend both a funeral service and a celebration of life happening on Thursday for Jocelyn.

The funeral will begin at 1 p.m. at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery located at 13102 North Freeway. The celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. at the Gallery Furniture off the I-45 North Freeway.

Both of Jocelyn's alleged killers -- 26-year-old Franklin Jose Pena Ramos and 22-year-old Johan Jose Martinez-Rangel -- remain behind bars. They are both charged with capital murder and are being held on $10 million bonds.

PREVIOUS REPORT: $10 million bond set for 2nd suspect in murder of 12-year-old girl found in creek

A judge set a $10 million bond for Johan Jose Martinez Rangel, a second suspect charged with murder in the death of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray.

The suspects -- who are both Venezuelan nationals -- were placed under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, holds. So even if they were able to post bond, they can't go anywhere.

Investigators said they believe Jocelyn snuck out of her home around 10 p.m. on 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.

SEE ALSO: 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.

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. Prosecutors said when Jocelyn was found dead, she was partially clothed and had marks and scrapes on her neck consistent with being dragged.

Investigators are still waiting on test results to determine if she was sexually assaulted.

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

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

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

RELATED: HPD believes 12-year-old girl may have snuck out of her home before being found dead in creek

Houston police are looking into the death of a girl whose body was found in a creek near West Rankin Monday morning.

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

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

Prosecutors said law enforcement gained access to Martinez-Rangel's phone and found he had searched for ways to leave town.

Meanwhile, Jocelyn's mother is mourning the loss of her young daughter.

"She had such a bright future in front of her and I knew she was going to go very far," Alexis Nungaray said. "These monsters took that opportunity from her."

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

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

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