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Venezuelan migrants accused of brutal rape and murder of 12-year-old Texan girl Jocelyn Nungaray

The suspects allegedly tied 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray's hands during the rape, then strangled her and threw her into the swamp

June 24, 2024 3:11pm

Updated: June 26, 2024 6:37pm

Two illegal Venezuelan migrants are being accused of murdering 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray, whose body was found last Monday in a swamp under a bridge in Houston, Texas. 

The suspects were identified as Franklin José Peña Ramos, 26, and Johan José Rangel Martínez, 21, who allegedly tied Jocelyn's hands during the rape, then strangled her, and threw her into the swamp.

Both men are charged with capital murder in the death of little Jocelyn. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said prosecutors have not ruled out the idea of ​​seeking the death penalty.

Peña Ramos appeared before a judge this Monday, June 24. The judge set his bail at $10 million, citing him as a flight risk.

Franklin José Peña Ramos illegally crossed the southern border in El Paso, Texas, last month. The suspect managed to remove the ankle monitor two days after authorities found Jocelyn's body, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sources told the New York Post.

For his part, Johan José Rangel Martínez had his ankle monitor removed on May 15, because the authorities determined that he did not have a criminal record and he presented himself for the required controls, sources indicated.

On Sunday, June 16, little Jocelyn escaped from her home around 10:00 p.m., according to investigators. She was later seen on surveillance footage from a store being chased by the suspects.

A Houston resident found the victim's body a day after he ran away from his home, according to local ABC News affiliate, KTRK-TV.

“I made a U-turn, stopped on the bridge, turned on my flashers, looked down and realized it was a body. I parked and called 911 immediately,” he told the outlet.

The Venezuelan migrants were arrested last Thursday at a local apartment complex, where they were living as roommates.

Investigators are trying to find out if the suspects are related to the violent Venezuelan gang El Tren de Aragua, a Venezuelan mega criminal gang that is based in the Tocorón prison, Venezuela and has about 2,700 members, including hitmen and collaborators.

The gang has already managed to operate criminally in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Panama, with a significant increase in its activities abroad during 2020.

Fast-File Reporter

Marielbis Rojas

Marielbis Rojas is a Venezuelan journalist and communications professional with a degree in Social Communication from UCAB. She is a news reporter for ADN America.