“With all the modern technology currently used in today’s police work, a good old-fashioned police officer walking the beat helped win the day,” Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said in a Facebook post detailing the investigation and apprehension. “Now Nava will wait to answer the criminal charges pending against him.”
On Wednesday, at around 8:30 p.m., sheriff’s deputies were sent out to a house on Ruiz Lane in Brownsville, the second-largest city along the U.S.-Mexico border in the Lone Star State, “in reference to a welfare concern on an unresponsive female,” the CCSO said.
Jocelyn Morales, 22, was found dead.
At the crime scene, “several anomalies” were discovered concerning Morales’ lifeless body and “foul play” was immediately suspected, the sheriff’s office said. Investigators arrived, processed the available evidence, and quickly came to suspect that Nava, the deceased woman’s common-law husband, was responsible – obtaining a warrant for his arrest later that night.
The CCSO took the lead on the search for the defendant, but multiple agencies were part of a task force with sights on the victim’s husband.
An investigator with the district attorney’s office had a hunch that Nava was likely to “have sought refuge in Old Mexico,” according to Saenz, and began a search by focusing on ports of entry.
“The suspect is a young man, perhaps weighed down by the horrible act he committed, and he would no doubt want to come home,” the DA said. “While conducting patrols near the bridges, [the investigator] found himself in Lincoln Park, and low and behold, parked in an empty lot was the vehicle matching the description of the vehicle driven by Nava.”
Lincoln Park, where the defendant was found, is some 10 minutes from the Gateway International Bridge System, one of the highest-trafficked toll booths separating the U.S. from Mexico.
Sitting alone in the park, the defendant was allegedly arrested by the investigator, who then called for backup, Saenz said.
He was then taken to the sheriff’s office.
“Nava provided a full confession of how he perpetrated this crime against his own spouse over jealousy problems,” the CCSO said.
The circumstances of Morales’ death have yet to be released.
The young woman is remembered fondly by her family in a GoFundMe to help defray the unexpected funeral expenses.
“Hello friends and family, with a heavy heart, I must share the news that my youngest sister tragically lost her life at 22 years of age,” Natalie Ramirez writes. “A beautiful soul who lived for her son, who she loved deeply and didn’t deserve to be robbed of her life.”
“This tragedy has not only left my family completely heartbroken, but it has also blindsided us with the unexpected funeral expenses,” the fundraiser continues. “I ask for any donations to help give my sister a beautiful funeral that she deserves, so we can say our final goodbyes to her. Any amount will help and is greatly appreciated, thank you for your generosity.”
Nava is detained in the Cameron County jail on $1 million bond. No upcoming court date has been scheduled in the case, according to court records reviewed by Law&Crime.
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