“Justice for my daughter”: Jocelyn Nungaray’s mother relieved after the arrest of 2 suspects in connection with her murder

HOUSTON – After several days of searching, two suspects were arrested in connection with the murder of Jocelyn Nungaray, 12 years old.

Jocelyn’s body was found Monday in a creek off West Rankin Road, north of Houston. Houston police say she was strangled to death.

On Thursday morning, two men initially described as persons of interest in the case were taken into custody by police. KPRC 2 photographer Roger Franco obtained exclusive video of the men taken into custody

Surveillance videos show the men were with Jocelyn hours before she died, according to HPD Lt. Stéphane Hope.

Since then, Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, 26, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, 21, have been officially named as suspects in Jocelyn’s murder. They both face capital murder charges.

Hours after the two men were arrested, KPRC 2’s Corley Peel spoke by phone with Jocelyn’s mother, Alexis Nungaray. She said she’s relieved to learn the suspects are now off the streets.

“It’s been a huge relief, you know, to hear that they’ve been arrested and they’re off the streets and it’s great to know that, you know, everyone has worked so hard and so quickly to get justice, my daughter,” she said.

One of the suspects, Johan Martinez, appears to have changed his appearance from what he was in surveillance photos.

Persons of interest (Houston Police Department)

HPD sent a photo earlier this week showing Martinez in a white hat with a beard.

Persons of interest captured in north Houston apartment complex near where body of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray was found (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.)

At the time of his arrest, he appeared to have no facial hair.

Alexis Nungaray told KPRC 2 she had never seen these men before. She says she doesn’t know if she knew the two men and that their daughter did not live in the same complex where she and Jocelyn live.

“No idea who they are. I think it’s very cowardly of one of them to try to change their appearance thinking it would make a difference. But the city of Houston is much stronger than these individuals. And we’re going to give them what they deserve,” she said.

Neighbors at the Canfield Lake apartments didn’t seem to know much about these men.

“All I can say is they haven’t been here long, maybe less than a month,” said one resident who asked to remain anonymous.

She says it’s unsettling knowing they lived so close to her home.

“It’s a little scary where they say these people are from, my daughter goes up and down these stairs every day. So it’s scary to know that this could have happened to my child. For me to even think about it. I don’t even want her to go outside,” she said.

Corley knocked on the door where the men were presumably located, but no one answered.

Now that they’re in handcuffs, Nungaray says Jocelyn’s path to justice has only just begun.

“She no longer has a voice. So I have to be an advocate and, you know, be proud of myself for the strength that I’ve been for her. I always fought for her. And I will always fight for her,” she said.

A vigil is planned for Jocelyn Friday evening, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the creek where she was found, near 400 W. Rankin Road.

Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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