HOUSTON — Family members and police have identified the woman found dead in an abandoned SUV as Maira Gutierrez, a mother of four.
She was 38.
According to investigators, Gutierrez was abducted from a Pasadena apartment complex Monday morning. Witnesses called the police when they saw her being forced inside her own SUV at gunpoint.
On Monday afternoon, she was found shot to death in the SUV, which had been abandoned in southeast Houston.
Police said 30-year-old Daniel Chacon, Gutierrez's ex-boyfriend, has an active arrest warrant for aggravated kidnapping in the case and is also considered a suspect in her death. He's believed to have ties to Mexico, police said.
"I'm confident somebody knows where he is. We're asking for the public's help finding him," Pasadena Police Chief Josh Bruegger said.
Here's the update police provided on Tuesday:
According to Pasadena police, they got reports Monday morning just before 10 a.m. about a woman who was being forced into an SUV at gunpoint at an apartment complex off Red Bluff Road near Beltway 8.
After talking with witnesses, police said they were able to identify Chacon as the kidnapping suspect and Gutierrez as the victim.
Around 3 p.m., investigators said Gutierrez's body was found inside the abandoned SUV on Cedar Crest Street, near the intersection of Mykawa Road and the South Loop. The SUV appeared to be run off the road and ditched at some sort of distribution center. Police said freeway barriers were stored at the location.
No weapon was found at the scene, according to investigators.
Domestic violence reports
Authorities said Gutierrez reported two other domestic disturbance issues involving Chacon. She called police two times in September, according to authorities. An investigator was assigned to the case, but charges were not accepted.
"There had been a couple of disturbances within the last few weeks," Pasadena Police Sgt. Raul Granados said on Monday. "This was rapidly evolving. Those were still under investigation. Charges hadn't been accepted yet and unfortunately, we're here today. This is a sad situation for all of those involved, especially for the lady who lost her life."
Chacon and Gutierrez were not living together but had a 5-month-old child, according to family members. Chacon had custody of the child, police said. The child was not hurt during the kidnapping incident. Gutierrez also leaves behind three boys who are 19, 14 and 12.
Bruegger said he believes his officers followed proper protocols in past interactions. He said this incident highlights how fast domestic situations can deteriorate.
“Charging decisions by the DA’s office have to be based on evidence to establish probable cause,” Bruegger said.
In other cases dating back to 2012, court records show Chacon was charged in other cases involving violence against a different woman.
In 2017, that victim told Houston police he punched her in the face and put her in a chokehold until she almost passed out, according to court documents. She said Chacon, who she identified as her common-law husband, took her phone so she couldn't call for help and wouldn't let her leave.
According to court documents, Chacon was charged with felony assault of a family member and impeding breathing but was allowed to plead guilty to a class A misdemeanor.
In December 2012, Chacon pleaded no contest to another misdemeanor assault of a family member charge. He was charged with the same thing in March 2012 but that case was dismissed.
Resources for victims of domestic or family violence
Domestic and family violence cases in the Houston area have increased at an alarming rate. Victims often suffer in silence because they feel scared, helpless or ashamed.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are some discreet ways to reach out for help.
The Family Time Crisis Center can also be reached 24 hours a day at 281-446-2615.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 88788.