A Texas sheriff’s deputy accused of raping a 4-year-old girl, and threatening to report the mother to immigration if she complained, has been found dead in his jail cell, The New York Times is reporting.
Back in June, as the Times reported at the time, the girl’s mother said she “made an outcry” about being abused, allegedly by Nunez. The woman took her daughter to a local fire station to report Nunez, who was arrested a short time later.
During the investigation, authorities came to believe that Nunez had been molesting the girl for months, perhaps even years. Nunez allegedly molested the girl at her home on numerous occasions, hurting her and at one point likely causing minor injuries.
The girl’s mother, who was in the country illegally, said Nunez threatened her with deportation if she said anything.
In a statement, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar called the accusations “infuriating.”
“The details of the case are quite frankly heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating, all at the same time.”
At the time, Salazar said that the Nunez case represents a huge problem in communities with large populations of undocumented immigrants: That is, that criminals target them for victimization because they (the immigrants) are afraid to report the crimes against them, for fear of being deported.
“We believe that there was some hesitation on the part of the witness to report the conduct because of the fact that she’s undocumented in the country.”
Nunez was arrested and taken to jail on June 17, charged with super aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony.
Nunez was found in his cell at Karnes County Correctional Center at 5:45 p.m. on Monday. Authorities say the cause of death was an apparent suicide, although that won’t be known for certain for some time, says Salazar.
“At this point, we have to wait for the medical examiner.”
Meanwhile, with or without his main suspect, Salazar tells The San Antonio Express-News that he still intends to complete the criminal investigation into the little girl’s alleged rape, if for no other reason than because she deserves justice.
“This alters things a bit, but it doesn’t change our ultimate goal of proving it or disproving it. We owe it to this victim to keep following these leads and trying to prove these allegations. This is life changing. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. We need to make sure she’s okay and her mom’s okay.”