Two Suspects Arrested in Death of Houston 12-Year-Old Girl, Both Entered Country Illegally

Two Suspects Arrested in Death of Houston 12-Year-Old Girl, Both Entered Country Illegally
Victim: Jocelyn Nungaray

Two suspects, Johan Jose Martinez-Rangel, 22, and Franklin Peña, 26, have been arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the death of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray. The young girl’s body was discovered in a shallow creek on Monday morning at 400 West Rankin Road.

Johan Jose Martinez-Rangel
Johan Jose Martinez-Rangel

Houston Police responded to a call about a person down and found Jocelyn’s body at the scene. She was pronounced deceased due to strangulation, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

After releasing surveillance photos of two persons of interest on Tuesday, investigators received tips that led to the identification of Martinez-Rangel and Peña. They were apprehended without incident on Thursday at an apartment complex on Northborough Drive by officers from HPD’s Northbelt Patrol Division, SWAT team, and Gang and Homicide Divisions.

Franklin Peña

Meanwhile, the community gathered for a vigil in honor of Jocelyn on Friday, during which Houston Mayor John Whitmire announced that local businessman Jim McIngvale would cover the funeral expenses for her family. Jocelyn will be laid to rest on June 27th.

The murder of young Jocelyn is being used politically due to the illegal status of the two killers.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the two “illegally entered the U.S. without inspection, parole or admission by a U.S. immigration officer on an unknown date and at an unknown location.” ICE said they are being held on immigration detainers at the Harris County Jail.

The investigation into the tragic death of Jocelyn Nungaray continues as the city mourns her loss.