Woman sentenced to 40 years in prison for murdering 15-year-old, setting body on fire

Jennifer Puente (Source: Ellis County Jail)

A suspect in the 2012 murder of a 15-year-old in Ellis County has pleaded guilty to the crime.

On Tuesday, Jennifer Puente pleaded guilty to murder and tampering with a corpse charges in connection to the death of Moriah Gonzales.

On March 17, 2012, Gonzales' body was found burning on the side of the road in Ennis.

Just days later, police issued a warrant for Puente's arrest, along with her boyfriend Joe Alvarado.

Alvarado was arrested at a Grand Prairie motel, but Puente could not be found.

Joe Alvarado (Source: Ellis County)

He testified that Puente stabbed Gonzales to death while they were on drugs.

He said he then helped his girlfriend take the body to the field in Ennis.

Alvarado was sentenced to 34 years in prison for murder, plus 20 years for tampering with evidence in 2014.

In 2022, Puente was arrested in Mexico by Mexican authorities.

It wasn't until February 2023 that a team of Texas Rangers, the Ennis Police Department and other members of law enforcement returned Puente to Ellis County.

After the guilty plea on Tuesday, a judge sentenced Puente to 40 years in prison for the murder charge and 15 years for the tampering charge.

The sentences will run concurrently.