Jocelyn Nungaray murder case: Key developments and $10 million bail for suspects

The latest in the case of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray's murder is that bail for Johan Jose Martinez Rangel was set at $10 million during his first court appearance. 

The announcement of the bail amount prompted an audible gasp from family members of the victim, visibly shaken by the proceedings. Among them, the stepmother of Alexis Nungaray, Melfri Vargas, voiced her anguish in Spanish, calling Rangel a "murderer" and expressing profound anger, saying, "I hope they kill your children."

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku and Google Android TV!

"It’s especially difficult when it’s a loss of a 12-year-old child who had their whole life ahead of them. So, this will be an emotional case for us as prosecutors as well as the family," Megan Long, the lead prosecutor, said.

Image 1 of 3


This follows the initial appearance of his roommate, Franklin Pena, on Monday.

According to Long Pena and Martinez met each other when they were both on their way to the United States from Venezuela and then later connected in Houston.

District Attorney Kim Ogg told Fox News that it was likely a sexual assault happened. A kit has been made, but the results are still pending.

"We would present any facts and evidence that we have towards that [sexual assault] to a grand jury for them to possibly indict this under a different type of capital murder for possible underlying sexual assault," Long said.

Image 1 of 3



Key Facts:

  • According to Long, Jocelyn was found in a bayou in north Harris County, Texas, on June 17, 2024, at 6 a.m.
  • Jocelyn had her hands and feet bound, was nude from the waist down, and had marks on her neck, and scrapes on her backside consistent with being dragged.
  • The autopsy confirmed the cause of death as strangulation.

Court Proceedings:

  • Surveillance cameras captured two individuals leaving the bayou at 3:04 a.m.
  • A witness reported being with Pena and Martinez at Ojos Locos on June 16 and provided a photo of the suspects.
  • On June 19, Pena called his boss at a construction company, stating that he and Martinez did something bad after partying on Sunday night, leading to someone’s death. He requested money to leave town.
  • Pena claimed that he and Martinez were with Jocelyn and they walked to a bridge where Pena allegedly kissed Jocelyn before Martinez assaulted her.
  • Pena stated that Martinez strangled her and suggested placing her in the water to remove DNA evidence. Pena's body had scratch marks.
  • Martinez admitted to authorities that he tied Jocelyn's legs and instructed Pena to throw her in the bayou. Martinez had bite marks and scratches on his arm and had shaved his beard to avoid detection.

District Attorney's Comments:

  • District Attorney Kim Ogg indicated that neither suspect currently faces the death penalty, but this could change if further evidence, such as kidnapping or sexual assault, is confirmed.
  • Martinez's bail was set at $10 million, considering the severity of the charges and flight risk.
  • The state originally requested a $5 million bond for Pena, but it was doubled to $10 million due to his flight risk.
  • Martinez's public defender noted that he has two children, aged 2 and 5, who do not reside in Harris County.