Ennis Police Department Release On Arrest of Jennifer Puente
The Ennis Police Department is pleased to announce the capture and arrest of Jennifer Samantha Puente, 29, of Ennis.
Puente is arrested for the murder of Moriah Gonzales, 15, of Ennis. Puente has evaded justice since March 2012.
This arrest is due to great teamwork and efforts from multiple agencies. Puente was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the United States, where Puente is being held in the Ellis County Jail awaiting trial.
The Ennis Police Department would like to thank Captain Jason Bobo of the Texas Rangers, Mike Perez and Bryan Kolb of The Department of Public Service aircraft division, Kurt Hibbets of The US Marshals Service, Carlos Figueira of the Los Angeles Police Department, Billie Wallace of the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office, and Brad Norman of the Ellis County Sherriff’s Office.
We would also like to extend special thanks to Ann Montgomery and the entire Ellis County District Attorney’s Office team for their tireless efforts to locate, capture, arrest, and extradite Puente.
We continue to pray for the family members of Moriah as they continue to navigate life without her.
Ellis County District Attorney’s Office Statement
Ellis County and District Attorney Ann Montgomery announced today that long-time fugitive Jennifer Samantha Puente was arrested and booked into the Ellis County Jail. Puente is charged with Murder and Tampering/Fabricating Physical Evidence with Intent to Impair a Human Corpse.
On March 17, 2012, a witness found the burning body of Moriah Gonzales (15) in a field in Ennis, Texas. After investigation, on March 22, 2012, the Ennis Police Department secured an arrest warrant for Puente for Gonzales’ murder. An Ellis County grand jury also indicted Puente for the murder and tampering with Gonzales’ body. Puente, however, fled from Ellis County, could not be located, and was never arrested. A warrant for Puente’s arrest has been pending since March 22, 2012.
In 2016, believing Puente was in Mexico, Assistant Ellis County and District Attorneys and the Texas Rangers began working with United States Department of Justice officials to request arrest warrants and extradition from Mexico. In October 2022, Puente was located and arrested in Mexico by Mexican authorities and in the months following waived extradition to the United States.
On February 10, 2023, a team consisting of members from the Texas Rangers, Ennis Police Department, and the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office returned Puente to Ellis County and booked her in the Ellis County Jail.
“For almost 11 years, many public officials worked tirelessly to find and arrest Puente so that my office could seek justice for Moriah Gonzales,” stated Montgomery. “I want to specifically thank Texas Ranger Captain Jason Bobo, attorneys from the United States Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, law enforcement officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, law enforcement officers from the Ennis Police Department, and former and current Assistant Ellis County and District Attorneys and Investigators. Their combined efforts led to the extradition and arrest of this fugitive.”
Murder is a first-degree felony punishable by between five and ninety-nine years or life in prison, and Tampering/Fabricating Physical Evidence with Intent to Impair a Human Corpse is a second-degree felony punishable by between two and twenty years in prison or probation.