Apprehended and Arraigned: Suspects in Laguna Heights murder arrested

By Gaige Davila

Nelson Orona Santiago leaving the Port Isabel Municipal Court, on October 17, after being arraigned in connection with the October 6 murder of Miguel Angel Aguilera Orduna. Photo by Gaige Davila.

Gloria Rueles Sanchez leaving the Port Isabel Municipal Court, October 17, after being arraigned in connection with the October 6 murder of Miguel Angel Orduna Aguilera. Photo by Gaige Davila.






Two suspects in the murder of Miguel Angel Aguilera Orduna, who was found dead in his Laguna Heights home on October 6, were arraigned on Thursday, October 17, in the Port Isabel municipal court, presided by Helen Delgadillo. 

Nelson Orona Santiago, 40, of Los Fresnos, and Gloria Rueles Sanchez, 28, also of Los Fresnos, were arrested on October 16 in connection with the murder. Santiago was arrested by the U.S. Marshalls at his residence on Melon St, in Los Fresnos. Sanchez, after being brought in for questioning, was arrested at Los Fresnos Police Department at 4:20 p.m.

Both Santiago and Sanchez were not in the United States legally, but it was not revealed how long either have lived in the United States, or their residency status. Santiago and Sanchez are both being held on $1 million bonds. Luis V. Saenz, district attorney for Cameron County, said the high bond was due to the severity of the crime and that both suspects pose a “flight risk.” 

The Texas Rangers, the U.S. Marshalls and the Cameron County District Attorney’s office assisted Port Isabel Police Department (PIPD) in their investigation, according to PIPD Chief Robert Lopez. The investigation, according to Saenz, remains ongoing. However, Lopez said they are no longer pursuing other suspects. 

Nelson Orona Santiago (left) and Gloria Rueles Sanchez (right) being arraigned in the Port Isabel Municipal Court in connection to the October 6 murder of Miguel Angel Aguilera Orduna. Photo by Gaige Davila.

Jose Luis Callejas, Aguilera’s brother, confirmed to the PRESS that Sanchez is the mother of two of Aguilera’s children. Callejas says he’s relieved that the suspects have been caught.

“I was scared for my family,” he said.

Sources said that Sanchez likely arranged Aguilera’s murder, after an ongoing dispute between the two, with Santiago suggesting to murder Aguilera. Sanchez and Santiago, Saenz said in a press conference after the arraignment, were a “quasi couple,” according to evidence. 

“I know the residents of Laguna Heights were worried,” Lopez said. “We haven’t had a murder here in about over 30 years, and I just want to assure them that we are able to put this crime behind us and move forward.” 

Callejas said he couldn’t see a reason why Sanchez would arrange to have Aguilera killed. 

“To me, there is no conflict that can be as big to murder someone,” he said. “That’s just so cruel.” 

Aguilera was found dead in his home around 3:45 a.m. on October 6, after an eyewitness to the murder alerted a neighbor of Aguilera’s, who then called the police. 

Aguilera was found with lacerations on his arm, shoulder, and neck, the latter of which nearly decapitated him. The murder weapon, a large Bowie knife, was found in a nearby trashcan, likely placed there by the murderers. 

A preliminary autopsy report by Cameron County, dated October 7, first reported by KRGV News Channel 5, cited Aguilera’s cause of death was “multiple sharp force injuries.” 

Santaigo and Sanchez will be held at Carrizalez-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center until their trial. 

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