Police are searching for a married lesbian couple who removed their ankle monitors and fled after being charged with murder in Texas.
Lisa Dykes, 58, and Nina Marano, 50, have been charged in connection with the murder of Marisela Botello-Valadez, who was stabbed to death in October 2020.
Botello-Valadez flew to Dallas from Seattle, Was., to visit a friend and disappeared while on a night out alone. She was last spotted with Charles Beltran, 32, who was Dykes’ and Marano’s roommate.
Her body was found six months later, in March 2021, in a wooded area about 15 miles south of Dallas, WFAA reports.
Phone records led police to Dykes’ and Beltran’s home, where they found evidence of Botello-Valadez’s blood underneath a recently-cleaned carpet.
Beltran, Dykes, and Marano were all arrested, with Dykes and Marano posting $500,000 bonds. They were released in May 2021 with ankle monitors, a decision that angered Botello-Valadez’s family.
According to court documents, both women removed their ankle monitors within four minutes of one another on Christmas Day and fled. Their last known location was on an expressway in Dallas.
After removing their monitors, authorities attempted to contact the women via calls, emails, and texts, to no avail.
However, officers waited until Jan. 4 to alert Dallas County that Dykes and Marano had absconded, giving the couple a ten-day head start.
Dennesly Castillo, Botello-Valadez’s aunt, said she was unhappy that Dykes and Marano were even allowed to post bond and be released.
Court documents noted that the women had “shown a pattern of avoidance,” given they had fled to Florida during the investigation over Botello-Valadez’s disappearance.
“They got to spend the holidays together, I assume, in the comfort of their house instead of being locked away,” Castillo told WFAA.
“We don’t have that option. We don’t have the option to ever be able to sit there with Marisela again and celebrate or be out and about.”
Castillo is demanding “some sort of explanation” over why it took so long for the county to be notified that Dykes and Marano had fled.
“If they had posted that they were missing sooner, they may have been able to find them,” Castillo said.
Speaking to KDFW, Castillo added that the family wants to know the motive behind Botello-Valadez’s murder.
“Until we have them back in custody and they are finally given a sentence, I don’t think there’s going to be any closure for us,” Castillo said. “Because we needed to find answers.”
Beltran remains in jail, after failing to post bond.
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