2 arrested in dragging death of teen girl in Glendale

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 6 at 8:23 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Police have arrested two 18-year-olds in connection with the dragging death of a 16-year-old West Valley girl. It started with the theft of the girl's laptop computer.

According to police, Anita Munoz was working on her computer outside near the office of her apartment complex in the area of 67th and Glendale avenues last Wednesday evening.

The suspects, now identified as Lino Chavez and Jose Solis Apodaca, were in a car nearby and saw the girl.

Investigators believe Apodaca walked up to Munoz, forcefully grabbed her laptop, and then ran back to the car where Chavez was waiting.

When Munoz, a sophomore at Independent High School, confronted the pair, she got into a struggle. She apparently was partially in the car and was dragged onto 67th Avenue as Chavez drove away.

It’s still not clear if Munoz fell out of the vehicle or was pushed, but she was found lying in the middle of the street. She was in critical condition when she was taken to a local hospital.

By the time police arrived, Chavez and Apodaca had already fled the scene.

Munoz died of her injuries early Tuesday morning.

According to Sgt. Brent Coombs of the Glendale Police Department, Chavez was taken into custody Saturday afternoon. The car that dragged Munoz was also recovered.

Police arrested Apodaca at his Phoenix apartment Tuesday night.

"He's actually the one who took the computer from her by force," Coombs said. "Coupled with his arrest was the recovery of Anita's computer that she was working on originally. ... After we arrested him, we found the computer."

Coombs said both Chavez and Apodaca have been booked on charges of first-degree murder.

According to court paperwork, Chavez was already wanted on an outstanding felony warrant out of Maricopa County. A judge set his bond at $500,000 and also scheduled a preliminary hearing for April 18.

Apodaca, who also faces charges of aggravated robbery and trafficking in stolen property, is being held without bond. He will also have a preliminary hearing on April 18.

The victim's family has set up a bank account for funeral expenses. If you want to help, you can donate at any Chase bank branch under the name Patricia Ortiz. Account # 929-644-342.

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