Crime

Fugitive juvenile surrenders, has court hearing in Goliad murder case

VICTORIA, Texas - A Goliad teenager who has been on the run from authorities since late last week surrendered to juvenile authorities over the weekend on charges related to the June murder of Nathan Cortinas.

The boy, who has 16 at the time of the shooting but has since turned 17, was held in the Victoria Juvenile Detention Center over the weekend. He was brought before Judge Steven Kennedy for his initial hearing earlier today and then returned to juvenile detention.

The teen is charged with burglary, theft of a firearm, and engaging in organized criminal activity in connection with the Cortinas shooting.

Another teen, a 15-year-old male, was booked into juvenile detention late last week, also in connection with the case. That juvenile was arrested at his residence by Goliad Deputies on charges of burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, endangering a child, deadly conduct, engaging in organized criminal activity, and theft of a firearm.

Since both suspects were juveniles at the time of the incident, their names are not being released.

While both are charged in relation to the death of 20-year-old Nathan Cortinas on June 13, investigators do not believe either was at the scene of the shooting. Their roles in the murder case were developed as a result of the ongoing investigation of the shooting incident.

The most recent arrest brings the total number of people charged to seven. Capt. John Pape, spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said details cannot yet be released since the investigation is still ongoing. At this time, Pape said, it is uncertain if additional charges will be brought, or if additional suspects will be taken into custody.

"This is sort of a widespread investigation," explained Captain Pape. "But, we're confident at this time we've identified all the people. Now, whether or not we still have additional charges to come for some of them, the investigation is ongoing and we don't yet know."

Cortinas was shot to death while seated in his vehicle in the 100 block of South Mount Auburn Street in Goliad. His girlfriend, 18-year-old Brianna Bexley, was seriously wounded. Cortinas died at the scene while Bexley is recovering from her wounds.

The alleged shooter has been identified as 18-year-old Daniel Mendoza, also a resident of Goliad. He is under arrest for capital murder and related criminal charges, and is currently in the Goliad County Jail.

Sheriff's deputies were called to a residence in the 100 block of S. Mt. Auburn Street in Goliad shortly before midnight on June 13 for a reported shooting. Investigators found that the victim was in the driver's seat when the shooter opened fire from outside the vehicle at close range. Seven shots were fired from a small-caliber handgun. Three of the shots struck Cortinas.

The wounded female was in the passenger seat. She treated and released from Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio. A male infant, identified as the couple's child, in the back seat of the vehicle was uninjured.

Mendoza initially fled the scene before deputies arrived but was taken into custody by Deputies Isaac Kimbrough, Mark Williams, and Andrew Lane sitting outside a local convenience store just before 5am on June 14. He did not resist arrest.

Investigators believe the shooting was the result of an ongoing dispute between the parties.

Sgt. Donna Starry is in charge of the investigation. The Texas Rangers are assisting.

The information in this article was sent in a press release from Capt. John Pape with the Goliad County Sheriff's Office. 


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