SAN ANTONIO — A murder suspect was released from jail Thursday morning, one day after the Bexar County district attorney's office dismissed murder charges against him in the case of two teens found dead in a motel this year.
Kristian Ray Belmudez, 19, was arrested in March after police charged him with killing Gabriel Sanchez and his girlfriend, Sanaa McNeil, earlier this year. The bodies of the victims, also both 19 years old, were found at a northeast-side motel. They died from gunshot wounds.
According to court documents, surveillance video shows a man entering a motel room with Gabriel and Sanaa at about 2:15 a.m. on January 16. At 3:39 a.m., the man is seen leaving alone, carrying a gun in each hand. Gabriel and Sanaa never left the room. A housekeeper discovered their bodies on January 17.
Investigators released a still image of the suspect, identified as Kristian Belmudez.
KENS 5 spoke with Gabriel's mother, Jassidy Sanchez, on March 10. She begged the suspect's family and friends to "turn him in."
With help from the public, he was arrested on March 10.
“Once he was caught, I was like, ‘Thank God,'" said Jassidy. "'Finally, we are getting at least one criminal off the streets.'”
Jassidy’s hope for justice was short-lived, though.
On Wednesday, the capital murder charges were dropped. Belmudez was released Thursday.
"My heart dropped," said Jassidy. "I thought, 'Why, God?' I am appalled by the decision, by the whole justice system. I have to go visit my son at his burial spot when this kid is getting released. Are you kidding me?"
KENS 5 reached out to the Bexar County DA's Office for comment.
"Our office must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a Bexar County jury that a defendant has committed the crime of which he or she is accused," the DA's office said in a statement. "That is the law. In this instance, a full review of all the evidence currently available to our office showed that the evidence necessary... was incomplete."
The District Attorney also responded to follow up questions about specifically what evidence was lacking with the following statement:
"At this time, the District Attorney's office cannot provide any further details or comments regarding the criminal case involving Kristian Belmudez, as the investigation is still pending. We understand the public's interest in this case and the importance of transparency to the community. However, we must prioritize the integrity of the investigation and respect the legal process."
Jassidy, contrary to District Attorney Joe Gonzales's team, said she believes there's more than enough evidence to take the case to trial.
“What more evidence do you need?" she asked. "The fact that he needed to be on the run - that just shows he is guilty! When I looked it up (on the Bexar County website), it said 'Case Closed.' Are you serious? This case is never closed for our families. We all deserve an explanation."
A trial could still happen, but the DA's office says it has "asked for additional information and investigation" that must be gathered first.
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