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Gracy Espinoza’s family finds relief, justice in arrest made just shy of one year anniversary

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 10:44 AM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - After nearly a year of questions, protests, and memorials, a suspect has finally has been arrested in the case of a pregnant young woman found dead on Plum Street.

After major speculation on social media that the son of a police officer was getting preferential treatment, an arrest was made last night at his parent’s home.

Joel David Chavez III, is being charged with a double murder: he is accused of stabbing and strangling 19-year-old Gracy Espinoza and killing her unborn child.

The 23-year-old remains at the Webb County Jail.

“This case is about control, jealousy, and revenge,” District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said at a press conference announcing the charges.

Mayra Rivera, Gracy’s mother, tells us, “There were a lot of times we would talk and I’d say he looked like a nice guy, but she would tell me, ‘you don’t know him’, but then again, she wouldn’t tell me everything. I always saw him bring her flowers, but I didn’t know him.”

Her odeal has come to an end after 12 grueling months of unanswered questions with an arrest to the case.

Gracy’s boyfriend, Joel David Chavez III, was arrested in the death of pregnant Espinoza and he is said to have stabbed her in the chest and then suffocated her.

Friday, September the 10th, would have been the 1 year anniversary of when Gracie Espinoza’s body was found where a make-shift memorial remains in place. Now that an arrest has been made, the family can get some closure from this very disturbing incident.

Chief Claudio Trevino, Jr. says they wanted to get it right. “It was a long year of gathering evidence, following leads, making sure look at every lead, and that we interviewed every person that needs to be interview following whatever course the investigation leads us.”

The DA added, “This case is supported by the following: physical evidence, photographic evidence, video evidence, eyewitness evidence, medical evidence, cell phone evidence, interview evidence, DNA blood evidence, circumstantial evidence, and historical evidence.”

The District Attorney insists the hearsay found online was inaccurate.

“The delay in this case was in no way shape or form related to the fact that the suspect’s father was a former police officer. I need to dispel that social media rumor that was out there. Completely false.”

Her mother concludes, “Thank God we are here and we can finally move forward.”

At this time, the District Attorney’s Office says they are seeking between 99 years and life imprisonment.

Once it goes to court, we should get a better idea of why it took so long to get an arrest.

As mentioned, DNA evidence allegedly ties Chavez to the crime and he is currently under a $400,000 bond, with the request for a second $400,000 bond expected for the unborn child.

At this time, he is facing life imprisonment --not the death penalty.

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