The suspect in an 11-year-old North Texas murder is finally in the custody of local law enforcement after being extradited from Mexico.
Jennifer Samantha Puente, 29, was booked at the Ellis County Jail last Friday, according to jail records.
She is charged with murder, tampering/fabricating physical evidence with the intent to impair a human corpse, and criminal mischief.
“For almost 11 years, many public officials worked tirelessly to find and arrest Puente so that my office could seek justice for Moriah Gonzales,” said District Attorney Ann Montgomery, per a press release by the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office.
Puente was found in Mexico by Mexican authorities in October 2022. They cooperated with local Texas law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Texas Department of Public Safety to apprehend and return her to Ellis County.
She was wanted for her alleged role in the 2012 murder of Moriah Gonzales, who was 15 years old at the time.
Puente was linked to the killing by the testimony given to investigators by her then-boyfriend, Joe Alvarado. Alvarado has already been convicted and sentenced to 34 years in prison for his part in the murder, plus 20 for tampering with evidence.
Alvarado claimed that Puente stabbed Gonzales while on drugs, killing her. Alvarado and Puente then allegedly set the body ablaze in a field in Ennis, reported Fox 4.
Gonzales’ body was discovered on March 17, 2012. Five days later, the Ennis Police Department obtained arrest warrants for both Alvarado and Puente. The former was apprehended in short order, while the latter had disappeared, apparently having fled to Mexico.
Puente is currently being held on a total bond of $1.06 million for the three alleged crimes.
Ennis does not typically see many murders, if any, in any given year, unlike in Dallas, where City leaders have allowed violent crime to rise unchecked. Year-to-date, violent crime is up nearly 10% as of Tuesday, according to a daily briefing by the Dallas Police Department.