Sex assault case against former BCSO deputy in limbo after alleged victim found murdered

Jessica Gonzales, 36, found shot to death July 27

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman found shot to death in an alley south of downtown in late July was the alleged victim in a sexual assault case against a former Bexar County Sheriff's Office deputy, court records have confirmed.

The body of Jessica Gonzales, 36, was found July 27 behind a home in the 3500 block of South Flores Street.

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"The collection of evidence at the scene indicates that she may have been murdered somewhere else and then her body was placed there in the alley," said SAPD spokesman Officer Doug Greene.

Selia Martinez, one of the people who found Gonzales' body, said she was wrapped in a blanket with her legs crossed at the ankles.

Martinez and her brother-in-law, Froy Murillo, at first thought trash was dumped behind their home.

"'Oh no, it's a body. You call 911,'" said Murillo, recalling what he said the moment they realized they had walked up to a crime scene.

According to court records, Gonzales is one of at least three women to accuse former BCSO Detention Officer Erick Montez of sexually assaulting them while they were in his custody at the Bexar County Jail.

According to records, the incident between Montez and Gonzales happened Dec. 31, 2012, while Gonzales was being held on a felony drug-possession charge.

The alleged attack happened the same day Gonzales was transferred to a substance abuse treatment facility, according to court records.

Montez in June was cleared of sexual assault charges for an incident involving a female inmate he was transporting in a BCSO van in late 2015.

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However, a jury found Montez guilty of having an illegal sexual relationship with a person in custody for that incident.

In a third indictment for incidents that happened in November 2014, Montez is accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate twice, then threatening her and her brother.

Montez faces an additional charge of retaliation in that case, according to court records.

He resigned in January 2016, days after being arrested for the 2015 incident.

Montez, who was free awaiting sentencing for the June conviction, was remanded without bond in early August after missing a court appearance.

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He is currently being held at a Karnes County facility, a BCSO spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

The Bexar County District Attorney's Office declined comment for this story, calling the case involving Montez and Gonzales a "pending matter."

However, Montez's attorney, John Paul Young, told The Defenders via telephone Monday that prosecutors will likely have no choice but to file a motion dismissing the case.

Young said that motion could come as early as next month.

When asked if his client was a person of interest in the murder of Gonzales, Young said, "Not that I'm aware of."

Laurie L. Levenson, a professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said it is hypothetically possible to prosecute a sexual assault case if the victim is deceased.

"It is not easy to prove without the victim, but it is possible," Levenson said via email, adding that other witnesses or physical evidence would need to be relied on.

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Investigators have not said if there is anything linking Montez to the death of Gonzales, who had a lengthy criminal history in Bexar County, including at least 11 arrests for prostitution.

Montez was scheduled to stand trial in the two remaining cases as well as have a pre-sentencing hearing Sept. 12, according to Bexar County District Court records.

SAPD has asked the public for assistance in solving the murder of Gonzales.

Anyone with information is asked to call 210-207-7635.

"This is a very brutal, brutal murder, and the individual responsible or individuals responsible for this victim's death need to be found and need to be held accountable," said Greene.

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