Judge sets $10M bail for 1 of the capital murder suspects accused of strangling 12-year-old girl

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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Judge sets $10M bail for capital murder suspect in 12-year-old's death
The suspects charged with capital murder in the strangling of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray are due back in court this week.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A judge set bail at $10 million for one of the capital murder suspects accused of killing 12-year-old Jocelyn Nunagray, who was found in a creek in north Houston last week.

On Monday, 26-year-old Franklin Jose Pena Ramos faced a judge, who believes the man is a flight risk.

He's been placed under a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, hold since June 20.

An ICE spokesperson confirmed last week that Pena and the second suspect, 22-year-old Johan Jose Martinez Rangel are from Venezuela and were in the country illegally. Border Patrol arrested them near El Paso but released them with an order to appear.

In fact, the Harris County District Attorney's Office said Pena still had on an ankle monitor given to him by ICE at the time of the crime.

Martinez is due in court on Tuesday.

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

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

Court documents read that the men then allegedly 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.

Prosecutors say she had marks on her neck and scrapes on her body consistent with being dragged.

The state adds 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 those funds after explaining what happened, the lead prosecutor told ABC13.

We also learned in court 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 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.

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

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

Jocelyn's family said they are relieved the two men accused of murdering her are in custody.

Her funeral will be held this Thursday, followed by a celebration of life at Gallery Furniture.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, X and Instagram.

SEE HERE: 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.