The Houston Chronicle reports that an arrest has finally been made in a cold case of murder, concerning the 2011 death of Natalie Ochoa. Her case went cold under a disgraced detective named Ryan Chandler. This week, Joseph Richard Reyna, 31, of Houston, was arrested and charged with the murder after DNA from a prior arrest was matched to the Ochoa evidence.
On December 16, 2011, Ochoa was discovered barely breathing on the street. She had been strangled, and was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her family has always claimed her murder was discounted because she led a checkered life of drug use in the past. Ochoa was released from jail on September 30, 2011, when she went back to school and cleaned up her life. She was dead less than two months later.
Reyna was previously arrested in 2014 for choking and beating an ex-girlfriend. In 2015 he was arrested for violating a protective order from that case. He pleaded guilty and served 6 months in jail. His DNA was then collected and added to the database, which matched it with evidence found on Ochoa.
Reyna claims to have no idea why his DNA was under Ochoa’s nails. He is being held in Harris County Jail with no bail.
This case was highlighted as one of two dozen cases that former HPD detective Raymond Chandler had been cited for not investigating while he was the assigned homicide detective. He was fired and other detectives were assigned to take over those cases.
*Photo credit Ochoa’s Family