Home » Fugitive charged in double murder of National Guard member, daughter signs extradition to Massachusetts

Fugitive charged in double murder of National Guard member, daughter signs extradition to Massachusetts

by John Jefferson
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The man who is allegedly responsible for the deaths of a National Guard mother and her 11-year-old daughter is expected to return to Massachusetts to face charges.

According to the Worcester District Attorney’s Office, Dejan Belnavis appeared in a San Diego, California courtroom Friday and signed a waiver of extradition, clearing the way for him to return to Massachusetts. 

Belnavis, 27, has been jailed in California since being apprehended Monday afternoon near the San Diego Zoo.

A multi-state manhunt transpired after the double-murder of Connecticut Army National Guard member Chastity Nuñez and her 11-year-old daughter, Zella.


Belnavis has been on the run since the slaying of Nuñez and her daughter in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 5.

The mother-daughter duo were sitting in their parked SUV at 3 p.m. when two gunmen fired into their vehicle.

“Upon arrival, officers located a parked vehicle with two female gunshot victims inside,” the Worcester Police Department said. “The victims were identified as a mother and her daughter, and they were both pronounced deceased at the hospital.” 

Suspect in the National Guardwomnan shooting being taken into custody

The Worcester Police Department quickly linked Belnavis and 28-year-old Karel Mangual to the murder.

On March 6, one day following the shooting, Mangual was found and arrested.

“He is charged with Armed Assault to Murder and Carrying a Firearm without a License,” according to Worcester Police. “He also had a preexisting arrest warrant. He will be arraigned in court.”

Chasity Nuñez

Nuñez was mourned and remembered for her resiliency and dedication to serving her country.

“I’d describe Chasity as incredibly resilient, brilliantly intelligent, destined for success in her civilian and military careers, and more full of compassion than anyone I know,” National Guard spokesperson Maj. David Pytlik told Fox News Digital.


Nuñez has received honors such as the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Achievement Medal since joining the service in 2020, Pytlik said.

Pytlik said that she was killed in “senseless violence” and will be remembered for her “wit, social nature and dedication to duty.”

“Our hearts are broken because we lost Specialist Chasity Nunez to senseless violence. She and her daughter were killed while sitting in their vehicle in their own neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon,” Pytlik said. “Chasity was beloved by her fellow soldiers in the 142nd Medical Company.”

“Her wit, social nature and dedication to duty made her one of the best soldiers in our unit. I cannot begin to make sense of why this happened and why her family, friends, co-workers and fellow soldiers have been robbed of her and Zella,” Pytlik added. “What we can, and must do now, is support one another as we grieve, process this profound loss and honor their memory.”

Chasity Nuñez

Nuñez’s daughter, Zella, was also killed by the gunman and was remembered as a “high-achieving” student who was well liked and well respected.


“At the school Zella attended, she was known as a high-achieving sixth-grade student who had many friends and was well respected by her teachers,” a spokesperson from the Worcester Public Schools told Fox News Digital.

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