Mother and 11-Year-Old Daughter Brutally Killed in Parked Car

A tragic incident unfolded on a Massachusetts street on Tuesday afternoon when a National Guardswoman and her visually impaired daughter were brutally murdered in their parked vehicle, prompting a search for the killers. Chasity Nunez, 27, and her 11-year-old daughter, Zella, were discovered in their bullet-ridden SUV around 3 p.m. on March 5 in Worcester, Massachusetts, suffering severe gunshot wounds, as reported by the Worcester Police Department. Despite being rushed to the hospital, both victims were later pronounced dead.

The mother and daughter were in Nunez’s Nissan Rogue when two men approached and opened fire. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the assailants flee in a white sedan shortly after the shooting. Security footage corroborated these accounts, showing a vehicle matching the description in the vicinity before the shooting and speeding away afterward.

The police have yet to disclose any potential motive for the horrific crime. However, one of the suspected killers, Karel Mangual, 28, was apprehended on Thursday night. He was charged with armed assault to murder and illegal possession of a firearm. At the time of his arrest, Mangual was already wanted on a pre-existing warrant. He is currently being held without bail and is due in court on March 12.

Authorities have warned the public about a second suspect, Dejan Belnavis, who remains at large. Belnavis, 27, is considered “armed and dangerous” and is wanted for armed assault with intent to murder and illegal firearm possession.

The shooting occurred in a neighborhood where children are often seen playing, leaving residents shocked and fearful. Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and other city officials released a statement mourning the tragic loss of the mother and daughter, emphasizing that such violence has no place in their city.

Nunez, a highly regarded patient administration specialist, had recently completed a four-year service with the 142nd Medical Company based in Danbury, Connecticut. Her superiors lauded her for her humor, sociability, and commitment to duty, describing her as one of the unit’s best soldiers. She was scheduled to return to service in Connecticut on Saturday.

In addition to her military service, Nunez worked as a patient safety and clinical quality program coordinator at MIT Health since July 2023 and as a patient access representative at UMass Memorial Medical Center since March 2021. Her dedication to the health and well-being of the MIT community was praised by her colleagues.

Zella, Nunez’s daughter, was legally blind. Her cousin and godfather, Tyrae Sims, described her as full of life and undeserving of such a tragic end. In a poignant message to the killers, Sims expressed hope that they understand the magnitude of their actions.