EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A Venezuelan man has been arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with a woman who as found dead in a Downtown El Paso motel last month, El Paso Police said.
The victim and suspect are both migrants. El Paso police say the suspect murdered and robbed the woman of her money.
At about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, El Paso Police officers and fire personnel responded to the Budget Lodge Motel at 1301 N. Mesa for a welfare check on a woman.
The woman, 40-year-old Carmen Unilda Navas Zuniga, was found unresponsive by motel personnel. Emergency crews found that the woman, who was Honduras, was dead.
Crimes Against Persons detectives and investigators from the Criminalistics Unit
responded to the scene.
The preliminary investigation found the death to be suspicious in nature. Officials say investigators are not releasing the cause of death at this time.
Detectives learned that additional people had stayed in the room and identified 34-
year-old Eddy Jose Ortega Alvarado as a person of interest.
Police learned that Ortega had left El Paso and was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
On Friday, June 2, El Paso detectives met with Ortega in Fort Worth. After meeting with Ortega, investigators said they had probable cause to believe that he had murdered Navas and stolen her money. Navas and Ortega had crossed into the United States and were processed by Border Patrol on May 20.
Ortega was booked into the Tarrant County Jail on a capital murder warrant with a $2.5 million bond. Police officials say Ortega is expected to be extradited to El Paso later this week.
El Paso Police say this continues to be an active investigation and to protect the “integrity of the case” and future prosecution, further details will not be released.
A Border Patrol spokesperson tells KTSM and Border Report that migrants with a criminal history or an active warrant will not be released after they’re processed, and they’re usually returned to their countries.
In the case of Ortega , Border Patrol officials said they ran his name and there was no prior criminal activity.
However, officials say that they do not have access to all of the criminal history of individuals from other countries.
Should an individual be wanted for a serious crime or have a serious criminal background, some countries will share that information, typically with agencies like Interpol.
Border agents noted that there has been a large volume of migrant encounters, especially in recent months.
“There are some bad apples that do not have a criminal history,” the spokesperson said.
This was the seventh homicide of the year inside the city limits of El Paso.