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Crime

Man Who Allegedly Murdered Woman, Unborn Child Released From Jail

A young man who was accused of murdering a teenage woman and her unborn child in Laredo, Texas, has been released from jail on a bond, authorities said.

Gracie Alexandra Espinoza, 19, (left) was found dead on September 10, 2020, near a baseball field. She allegedly died along with her unborn child in the hands of her then-boyfriend, Joel David Chavez, 24, (right). Photo credit: KGNS

According to the docket of the case, the accused, Joel David Chavez, 24, has been released from Webb County Jail on Wednesday, Sept. 15. He was booked for the murder of his teen girlfriend, Gracie Alexandra Espinoza, 19, and her unborn child, KGNS reported.

Custody records show that Joel was arrested by the Laredo police on September 7, just a few days shy of the 1-year death anniversary of Gracie. Gracie was found dead on Sept. 10, 2020, near a baseball field by East Plum Street and North Buena Vista Avenue. According to the arrest affidavit released by the authorities, she died from asphyxiation and multiple stab wounds.

The same arrest affidavit also said that the two were in a relationship at the time of Gracie’s murder.

Gracie Alexandra Espinoza, 19. Photo credit: LMT Online

Earlier reports said that in the times leading to her death, Gracie had already told a Child Protective Services caseworker that Joel was “controlling and ‘toxic.’” Their cellphone records also revealed that the two had been having problems in their relationship which includes a sexually transmitted disease.

The records also showed that Joel was jealous of Gracie’s dead boyfriend and that he had a history of violence with his ex-girlfriends.

Joel is all set to face indictment in the 111th district court for two counts of murder.

His first court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 19, at 1.15 p.m. at the 406th District Court with Judge Oscar Hale.

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