Two Venezuelan Migrants with Checkered Pasts Arrested in Connection with Murder of 12-year-old Utah Girl Jocelyn Nungaray

One Suspect Pena Ramos had crossed the border illegally less than a month before the murder

Two Venezuelan migrants have been arrested for the murder of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray. The young girl was lured from her home, strangled, and her body dumped in a bayou.

The suspects, Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, 21, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, 26, were charged with capital murder on Thursday.

2 Venezuelan migrants arrested

Pena Ramos had crossed the border illegally less than a month before the murder and was released into the U.S. after claiming fear for his life in Venezuela. He entered El Paso on May 28 and was released with a GPS tracker to monitor his location for 21 days. It is unclear if he was wearing the tracker when Jocelyn was killed.

Rangel Martinez crossed the border on March 14 and was also released with a court date in August. He had a GPS monitor but was removed from the program in May.

Jocelyn Nungaray
Jocelyn Nungaray Facebook

Investigators identified the suspects from surveillance footage showing them following Jocelyn into a convenience store. Her body was found in a swampy creek on Monday by a Houston resident who initially thought it was a mannequin.

The suspects were arrested at a local apartment complex where they were living as roommates. Homeland Security is investigating their immigration histories.

Jocelyn's mother, Alexis Nungaray, expressed her grief and anger, saying her daughter had sneaked out late Sunday and was taken advantage of by her killers.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire stated, "As a grandfather and a father, it doesn't get any worse. If there is any circumstance where you deny bail, this is it."

Authorities are still investigating whether Jocelyn was sexually assaulted.

Jocelyn's case adds to a series of high-profile crimes involving migrants, including a recent rape of a 13-year-old girl in a Bronx park and the murder of Maryland mother Rachel Morin by a Salvadoran alleged gang member.