Tag Archive: dismemberment

Reward renewed in Carina Saunders murder

Reward renewed in Carina Saunders murder

This past Friday, it was six years since the remains of 19-year-old Carina Saunders were found inside a duffel bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma. Also this past Friday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation renewed the $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Carina’s killer. This reward has been offered multiple times in the past but has to be renewed after 90 days according to state law. Also, $10,000 is the maximum reward that can be legally offered in the state of Oklahoma.

Many theories abound as to why Carina was murdered and dismembered. The prevailing thought is that Carina was somehow involved with human trafficking, and was killed to make an example. Several suspects have been previously arrested for her murder but charges were dropped, however charges could be refiled at a later time if any conclusive evidence indicates those suspects were involved.

Earlier this year, police seized items, which belonged to Carina, from a home where Carina was last seen alive. The person who owned the home was believed to have prostituted Carina but maintains his innocence. State investigators also believe there is a cell phone video of Carina’s murder in someone’s possession.

Call OSBI at 1-800-522-8017 with information or email a tip to tips@osbi.ok.gov.

One of Jennifer Parks’ killers to remain sentenced as an adult

James Zarate to remain sentenced as an adult in Jennifer Parks' murder

James Zarate

In 2005, 14-year-old James Zarate helped his older brother Jonathan brutally kill and dismember their neighbor, 16-year-old Jennifer Parks of Randolph, New Jersey. The younger Zarate brother was tried as an adult, convicted, and sentenced to life plus 14 years. Jonathan Zarate was sentenced to life plus 24.

Back in April, James Zarate, now in his mid-20s, attempted to appeal his life sentence by arguing he should have been tried as a juvenile. His defense used the same old argument of his brain supposedly not being fully developed. While a teenage brain is obviously not fully developed, it’s developed enough to the point where they know the difference between right and wrong, and there was nothing more wrong than what the Zarate brothers did to Jennifer.

The brothers invited her over under the guise of watching TV, but when she went to their house they stabbed her to death, dismembered her body then stored her body in a large trunk for 24 hours before trying to dump her remains in the Passaic River. All because Jennifer reported to the school James Zarate was bullying her.

At any time between the time Jennifer was invited over their house until the time they were caught by police trying to dump her body, James Zarate could have told his parents, or police, or anyone. Instead he chose to remain complicit in Jennifer’s murder, up until the point where the Zarates almost got away with it.

Yesterday, a Superior Court judge upheld the original decision to try James Zarate as an adult, which basically upholds his life sentence. In 2016, New Jersey passed a law which said no one under the age of 15 could be charged as an adult. However, the judge ruled the 2016 law does not have to be retroactively applied.

In no way does James Zarate ever deserve to see the outside of a prison ever again. No matter how ‘undeveloped’ his brain might have been, his cold-blooded brutality was fully developed.

(Thanks to Lady Gray for her editorial assistance)

Cell phone seized in drug raid may be connected to Carina Saunders’ murder

Cell phone seized in drug raid may be connected to Carina Saunders' murder

A new development has been made public in the investigation into the murder of 19-year-old Carina Saunders. For those of you new to the site, Carina was murdered in 2011 and parts of her dismembered body were found in a duffle bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) says they believe there is a video of Carina’s murder somewhere out there and have offered a $10,000 reward for receipt of the video. Two men were arrested for her murder, but the charges were withdrawn, for now.

More recently, the OSBI searched two properties in Oklahoma City that belonged to a guy named Kenny Richards. Several items were collected at the sites by state investigators, although they have not commented on what those items are. Richards is believed to have prostituted Carina and is believed to have been the last person who saw Carina alive.

Now, court records have stated the OBSI received a cell phone from the DEA that contained a picture of Carina Saunders. The phone was seized by the DEA during a drug operation. The phone is said to belong to one Kenny Richards. Richards has stated publicly Carina was a friend of his and he did not kill her.

What I would like to know is what is it about the picture that made it important to the OBSI? Is it something in the picture itself, the date, or something else contained in the photo’s data? So far what I’m taking away from this is there’s a picture of Carina on a phone that belonged to a person of interest in the investigation, but someone who also knew Carina personally. To put it bluntly, I’m not seeing the big deal so far.

I have my own thoughts on Richards himself, but I won’t expound on those since he has not been charged with any crime related to Carina’s murder.
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Items found in Carina Saunders murder investigation made public

Items found in Carina Saunders murder investigation made public

Recently, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations had searched two properties in Oklahoma City and had found items of interest in the murder investigation of Carina Saunders. Now, a search warrant used by the OBSI has been released, detailing the items that they had found.

The warrants indicates a folding knife, shirt, windbreaker jacket, and slip-on sandals were recovered during the three-day excavation in Northwest Oklahoma City.

As has been mentioned previously, it could be months before any forensic evidence can reveal if these items are related to Carina’s murder.

What I also found interesting about the News9 article that I linked to above, is they seem to insinuate Kenny Richards may have had more involvement in the murder than he’s letting on. I hate to talk about someone who at least has not been arrested for the crime I’m posting about, but the property these items were found on belonged to Richards, and News9 has said court records show investigators had received tips claiming Richards allegedly drove Carina to where her body was found and he had buried her belongings in a metal drum on his property. Richards has steadfastly denied any involvement in Carina’s murder.

While I’m not necessarily defending Richards, in my opinion it seems like Carina’s murder was a multi-person affair. By walking an accusatory thin line, certain news outlets could be potentially jeopardizing the investigation by putting too much of the spotlight on any one person of interest. The brutal way Carina met her end demands justice and doesn’t need any more hindrances in bringing the guilty to justice.

Person of interest in Carina Saunders murder texts local news station

Person of interest in Carina Saunders murder texts local news station

Another odd development in an already bizarre story. After agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations finished examining some Oklahoma City properties in the Carina Saunders murder investigation, the person who once owned the properties responded to a local news station.

As mentioned in my previous post, the man who used to own the properties is Kenny Richards. Not only is he believed to have allegedly prostituted Carina, he’s also believed to be the last person to see her alive according to news reports. After his name appeared in the news earlier this week he sent a series of text messages to local TV station News 9.

In a series of text messages, Richards said, “It [sic] all wrong…I told police everything I know.”

Richards explained via text Wednesday evening, “She [Saunders] was a friend of mine…I miss her, too!!” … “I have nothing more to say!!”

I’d be interested in knowing if News 9 reached out to Richards or if he reached out to them. They left that more than a little vague in their article.

The article does mention what items investigators were specifically looking for.

Saunders’ personal items were listed including shoes, socks, bra, underwear, belt, T-shirt, handbag and her wallet.

Investigators were also hoping to recover parts of her body that have been missing since she was found dismembered in a duffel bag in Bethany.

Considering they wrapped up their investigation of the properties early and said that the OSBI recovered items of interest, could they be finally getting closer to bringing Carina’s brutal killer or killers to justice? We can only hope.

‘Items of interest’ found in search for Carina Saunders’ remains

'Items of interest' found in search for Carina Saunders' remains

Carina Saunders

Yesterday, I posted that agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations had been searching two vacant properties in Oklahoma City for the additional remains of Carina Saunders. Today, agents said that they have found what they’re calling ‘items of interest’ after searching the Oklahoma City properties. Carina was murdered in 2011, and her partial remains were found in a duffle bag in Bethany, Oklahoma.

Investigators haven’t said what the items they found were, but said the items need to go under extensive forensic testing before any conclusions can be drawn from them.

What was not mentioned in yesterday’s news is that the properties they searched had once belonged to a man by the name of Kenny Richards. Richards is believed to have allegedly prostituted Carina shortly before her death. Human trafficking has been a recurring thread in this investigation, as there was once an assumption that Carina was killed in order to intimidate others into working for a sex trafficking ring. There is also believed to be a video of Carina’s murder out there in the wild and the state is offering a $10,000 award for any information leading to the arrest of Carina’s killer.

Again, if you have any information about Carina’s murder please contact the OSBI Hotline at 1 (800) 522-8017.

OSBI searching for possible additional remains of Carina Saunders

OSBI searching for possible additional remains of Carina Saunders

Carina Saunders

Agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations have been searching two vacant properties in Oklahoma City for the additional remains of Carina Saunders. Carina was 19 when she was killed in 2011. Her dismembered body was found in a duffle bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma. I was under the assumption that her complete remains had been found, but apparently I was mistaken.

Agents are using ground-penetrating radar in order to possibly find the last of Carina’s remains. The properties were rumored to have been occupied by people who allegedly knew who killed Carina but were too afraid to come forward due to fear of being killed themselves. While some may find this outrageous behavior, I can kind of understand because in the past there has been a theory that Carina may have been killed by a Mexican drug cartel as a way to send a message to someone close to her. While that may or may not be true, I could see how that could scare a neighborhood into silence.

So far the OBSI has not released what led them to check these properties or if they have found anything as of yet.

Investigators are still asking that if anyone has any information about Carina’s murder please contact the OSBI Hotline at 1 (800) 522-8017.
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One of Jennifer Parks’ killers wants to be re-sentenced as a juvenile

One of Jennifer Parks' killers wants to be re-sentenced as a juvenile

James Zarate

James Zarate was 14-years-old when he helped his older brother Jonathan brutally murder their 16-year-old Randolph, New Jersey, neighbor Jennifer Parks. For those of you not familiar with the story, Jennifer had been bullied by James Zarate and reported him to the school. To get back at Jennifer for his brother, Jonathan Zarate invited her over to his house to watch TV. Instead, the Zarate brothers brutally bludgeoned and stabbed Jennifer to death. In an effort to try to hide her body they dismembered Jennifer’s corpse and stuffed it into a trunk that they then put in the back of one of their parents’ Jeep. It was a full 24 hours before the pair, along with a friend, tried to dump Jennifer’s remains in the Passaic River. If it were not for a passing police officer, it may have been an eternity before Jennifer’s body would have been found.

Jonathan Zarate was convicted at trial and was sentenced to life plus 24 years. James was charged as an adult and was sentenced to life plus 14, but later had his sentence reduced by nine years. James Zarate has had many appeals denied, but now instead of appealing his conviction he’s trying to have his sentence reduced.

Recently, James Zarate’s public defender has filed a motion to have Zarate’s case moved to family court, in other words he wants to be sentenced as a juvenile.

If you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll notice that Zarate’s attorney is trying a familiar ploy. In 2016, New Jersey passed a law stating that no one under 15 could be charged as an adult. Zarate’s defender is asking for a juvenile re-sentencing under this ruling arguing that a 14-year-old’s brain isn’t fully developed enough to understand their actions when they commit murder. If the ruling were to fall into Zarate’s favor, more than likely he would be released after time served.

As I have argued many times in the past, this is a load of crap, as a 14-year-old’s brain is developed enough to know what murder is. Zarate willingly participated in Jennifer’s murder and at any time could have gone to his parents, the police or Jennifer to warn her in advance. He did none of these things. Instead he took part in an act only the most bloodthirsty of killers would have committed. To have him ever breathe the air outside of a New Jersey prison would not only be a travesty of justice but an insult to Jennifer’s memory. He is where he belongs.

Thanks to Rob for the tip.

UPDATE 4/14/2017: The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has filed its opposition to James Zarate being re-sentenced as a juvenile. They argue that the new statute does not have “express declaration of retroactive application.”

OSBI looks to Facebook to help solve Carina Saunders’ murder

OBSI looks to Facebook to help solve Carina Saunders' murder

Carina Saunders

FOX25 from Oklahoma City is reporting that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has submitted search warrants to Facebook in order to obtain information that they hope will lead to the killer of Carina Saunders.

In particular the OSBI is looking into three individuals. The first is 41-year-old Judy Roberts who is believed to have possibly been on the way to the casino with Carina before she disappeared. Roberts is also believed to have crossed the Mexican drug cartels in some way. The next person is Kyle Savage. Savage is to believed to have sent a threatening Facebook message to someone in Carina’s family that allegedly said “I’m going to bury you next to Carina.” Savage can’t or won’t explain why he sent this message before Carina’s body had been found. Lastly, the OSBI seem to be interested in Kenny Richards, who investigators believe prostituted her before her death.

None of these people are Jimmy Lee Massey Jr. and Luis E. Ruiz, who were previously arrested for Carina’s murder, but charges were dropped against them due to lack of real evidence. However the charges were dropped without prejudice, so they could be arrested again if the evidence supports it.

I hope this will lead investigators to bring Carina’s killer, or killers, to justice. It doesn’t matter what Carina may have done in her short life, but she did not deserve to be brutally murdered, with her dismembered body stuffed in a duffel bag.

If anyone has any information about Carina’s murder please contact the OSBI Hotline at 1 (800) 522-8017.

$10,000 reward offered for video of Carina Saunders’ murder

$10,000 reward offered for video of Carina Saunders' murder

Carina Saunders

19-year-old Carina Saunders’ mutilated body was found in a duffle bag behind a store in Bethany, Oklahoma, in 2011. It’s been long rumored that a video exists of Carina’s murder, now the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) believes that the video does exist. A week and a half ago the OBSI held a press conference where they have offered a $10,000 reward for the video.

The OBSI also released additional details about Carina’a murder and initial disappearance…

Family members last saw Saunders on Sept. 28, 2011, and her body was found Oct. 13, 2011. Investigators have located surveillance video from Oct. 8, 2011, outside the Newcastle Casino. Saunders is seen getting into a red, four-door Ford pickup with a brush guard and lights on the top, Florence said.

The only description of anyone inside the pickup is a man with full tattoo sleeves on both arms, he said.

“Also worth making note of is that there were girls nearby in a dark car who were pleading with Carina not to go with them. To this date, we don’t know who those girls were, but we would like to know who they were,” Florence said. “If they will come forward, we’d like to talk to them, find out what they saw, what they witnessed, why they were concerned about Carina’s safety and getting in this red pickup.”

It has been thought that Carina’s murder had something to do with human trafficking. Two suspects had been previously arrested, however charges against them were dropped after the OBSI took over the investigation due to lack of evidence at the time. However the charges were dropped without prejudice, so the suspects could be arrested again if the evidence supports it.

If you have any information, call the OSBI Hotline at 1 (800) 522-8017.

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