Arrests made after 12-year-old Houston girl found dead in creek; one suspect allegedly tried to escape off balcony

Two men who were seen on surveillance footage with a 12-year-old girl before her body was found in a Houston creek earlier this week were arrested Thursday in her death, police said. One of the suspects tried to jump off a balcony and escape before officers caught him, a neighbor told CBS affiliate KHOU-TV.

Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, 21, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, 26, each face a charge of capital murder in the killing of Jocelyn Nungaray, police said. The medical examiner has determined that her cause of death was strangulation.

It was unclear if the two suspects had attorneys yet to speak on their behalf. Their names were not listed in jail or court records as of Thursday afternoon.

Jocelyn’s body was found in the shallow water of a creek early Monday morning. Police have said that she sneaked out of her nearby home the night before.

Police said that surveillance footage showed the men meeting up with Jocelyn before walking to a convenience store with her.

We’ve learned more about the guys charged with capital murder in a Houston girl’s death. Neighbors told us the men liked to sit on their balcony and yell things at women passing by. @AnayeliNews — KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) June 21, 2024

The three then walked to the bridge together where Jocelyn was killed, police said. It was not known yet if Jocelyn knew the men, who were roommates, police said.

Police said the results of a sexual assault exam on the victim are pending.

Police on Tuesday had released photos from the surveillance footage of the two men, who were called persons of interest at that time.

Neighbors at the complex where the arrests were made arrived at about 4 a.m. and used a loudspeaker to order the men to come out, KHOU-TV reported. When they didn’t, officers approached the second-floor apartment with their weapons drawn.

A neighbor told KHOU-TV one of the suspects tried to jump off the balcony to get away but officers had the place surrounded and they quickly grabbed him.

Residents told the station that Ramos and Martinez often sat on their balcony and yelled at women who passed by.

Forensic investigators were seen removing boxes of evidence from the apartment on Thursday, KHOU-TV reported.

Acting Houston Police Chief Larry Satterwhite said the department worked around the clock to identify the killers and begin the process of finding justice for Jocelyn and her family.

“Their hard work paid off. We were able to find video and trace the movements of the suspects and Jocelyn, all the way to the bayou where she was murdered,” Satterwhite said.

Jocelyn’s mother, Alexis Nungaray, described her daughter as spunky, goofy, and loving, KHOU-TV reported.

“I’m, like, angry that they took advantage of her. She was so young. She was 12, you took my baby away, you took her away,” she said. “Now, I get to let her little brother know his older sister is never coming home.”

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