Police Release New Photos of Suspect Wanted in Murder of Guardswoman and Her Daughter

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
March 11, 2024US News
Police Release New Photos of Suspect Wanted in Murder of Guardswoman and Her Daughter
Dejan Belnavis in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Worcester Police Department)

Police in Massachusetts have released additional photos of a 27-year-old man wanted in connection with the double murder of a Connecticut National Guard member and her 11-year-old daughter.

The Worcester Police Department has warned that the suspect, Dejan Belnavis, is to be considered “armed and dangerous,” and anyone who sees him should contact Worcester Police or Massachusetts State Police.

On March 11, the U.S. Marshals Service announced in a wanted poster that it’s offering up to $10,000 for information leading to Mr. Belnavis’s arrest.

The federal law enforcement agency described the suspect as a 5 feet 11 inches tall black male who weighs about 160 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

Mr. Belnavis is the second individual facing charges in the double murder of Chasity Nunez and her teenage daughter, Zella Nunez.

Last week, police arrested 28-year-old Karol Mangual of Sterling on charges of armed assault to murder and unlicensed possession of a firearm, the same charges Mr. Belnavis is wanted for.

According to a police statement, Mr. Mangual had a “preexisting arrest warrant” when he was taken into custody. He is being held without bail following his arraignment in Central District Court on March 7.

Both suspects have a criminal history, and Mr. Mangual has been referred to as a violent gang member by police in other cases, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette reported.

Authorities didn’t immediately release a potential motive for the killings or release any information on whether there was any relationship between the suspects and the victims.


Ms. Nunez and her daughter were shot shortly after 3 p.m. on March 5 in Worcester, police said in a statement. Both victims were found inside an SUV with serious injuries and were pronounced dead at the hospital.

In court documents, police said that surveillance video shows Ms. Nunez and her daughter in a parked vehicle when “two people walk up to the vehicle and start shooting,” according to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.

The video also reportedly showed a car consistent with a witness description circling the area before the shooting and leaving afterward, the documents said.

“Realizing the need to locate this vehicle after the murder of two people and the danger presented to the public, we used the vehicle’s connected car system,” police said.

Authorities said they later found the vehicle in Hartford, Connecticut.

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and City Manager Eric Batista addressed the homicide in a joint statement, saying such an act of violence “has no place” in Worcester, the second most populous city in Massachusetts.

“Today we mourn the senseless loss of two Worcester residents, a mother and daughter whose lives were taken far too soon and far too tragically,” the statement read.

The Connecticut National Guard also offered their condolences, saying the hearts of Ms. Nunez’s fellow soldiers “are filled with pain and loss.”

“It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the death of Specialist Chasity Nunez, a Patient Administration Specialist serving with the 142nd Medical Company in Danbury, Connecticut,” the military agency said in a statement.

National Guard spokesperson Maj. David Pytlik told Fox News Digital that Ms. Nunez had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Achievement Medal since joining the service in 2020.

“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,” Mr. Pytlik told the news outlet.

“What we can, and must do now, is support one another as we grieve, process this profound loss, and honor their memory.”

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