Murder Trials Scheduled

Gloria Rueles Sanchez.

Nelson Orona Santiago.










Court Dates set for suspects in Laguna Heights homicide

By Gaige Davila

More than three months after their arrest, Nelson Orona Santiago and Gloria Rueles Sanchez, suspects in the murder of Laguna Heights resident Miguel Angel Aguilera Orduna, have trial dates. 

Santaigo and Sanchez will go before the 107th District Court of Cameron County, presided by Judge Benjamin Uresti, on February 17 and March 23, respectively. Both pled not guilty during their Cameron County District Court arraignment on Wednesday, January 22, held in the 107th District Court. 

The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office will formally announce Santiago’s and Sanchez’s trial dates on February 11 and March 11, respectively. The trial dates could change as the current dates approach, a source told the PRESS. Santiago and Sanchez are currently held in the Carrizales-Rucker Cameron County Detention Center in Olmito, Texas, on $1 million bonds. 

During their arraignment in the Port Isabel Municipal Court on October 17, 2019, Cameron County District Attorney Luis J. Saenz said Santiago and Sanchez are in the United States illegally. Saenz suggested the $1 million bond because he believed the suspects were a “flight risk.” 

Nelson Santiago and Gloria Sanchez being arraigned in the Port Isabel Municipal Court on October 17, 2019. Photo by Gaige Davila.

Santiago was arrested by the U.S. Marshalls at his residence on Melon St, in Los Fresnos, PIPD said, on October 16. Sanchez, after being brought in for questioning by PIPD, was arrested at Los Fresnos Police Department at 4:20 p.m. on October 16. The Texas Rangers, the U.S. Marshals and the Cameron County District Attorney’s office assisted Port Isabel Police Department (PIPD) in their investigation, according to PIPD Chief Robert Lopez.

Orduna was found dead in his home on Garfield Street in Laguna Heights around 3:45 a.m., on October 6, 2019. Port Isabel Police Department officers were called to the scene after a neighbor was alerted by a witness to the murder. The witness’ identity is being withheld by the PRESS due to their being a minor. 

Orduna was found with multiple lacerations on his arms, shoulder and neck, the latter of which nearly decapitated him. A large bowie knife, found covered in blood in a trashcan near Orduna’s home, was likely the murder weapon. 

Jose Luis Callejas, Orduna’s brother, confirmed to the PRESS in a previous report that Sanchez is the mother of two of Aguilera’s children. A source familiar with the investigation said the murder was likely arranged by Sanchez after having a dispute with Aguilera. 

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