Inmate charged with capital murder in death of teen found under bridge

Johnny Joe Avalos, 28, charged in death of Natalie Chavez, 15

By Van Darden - Managing Editor , Myra Arthur - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A man jailed in the sexual assault of a teen girl has been charged with capital murder in connection with the young victim's strangulation, San Antonio police announced late Thursday.

Johnny Joe Avalos, 28, was arrested April 21 on a charge of sexual assault of a child based on DNA evidence found on the body of Natalie Chavez, 15.

Chavez (pictured below) was found dead Dec. 18 under a west side bridge near the intersection of Vera Cruz and Nueva Leon Street.

The teen was nude and had been strangled. According to an arrest affidavit, Avalos told investigators he had sex with Chavez for a "predetermined amount of money." Avalos said he was not aware of Chavez's age.

According to San Antonio Police spokesman Sgt. Javier Salazar, investigators, who had identified Avalos as a person of interest in Chavez's death, developed probable cause to issue a warrant for Avalos on the capital murder charge.

The warrant was executed Thursday at the Bexar County Jail where Avalos was being held.

Avalos a person of interest in two other cases

Trevino is also calling Avalos a person of interest in two other cases.

On April 15, Celia Lopez, 29, was found dead on the 4400 block of South Presa. Lopez had suffered trauma to her head and face.

On April 4, a woman was found unconscious in a grassy alleyway in the same area on the 100 block of Avondale Avenue. According to SAPD, the woman was nude from the waist down and had bruising but no obvious signs of trauma. Police have not confirmed whether she was sexually assaulted. She remains hospitalized.

Avalos has a criminal history that includes resisting arrest, drug possession and making a terroristic threat.

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