A fourth teenager has been arrested in the MS-13 killing of a 14-year-old who police say was lured to the woods and fatally beaten by those who feared she would go to law enforcement about a crime the group had allegedly committed hours earlier.
Edwin Rios, 18, of Southeast Washington has been charged with murder in the killing of Ariana Funes-Diaz, 14, Prince George’s County police announced Friday.
Funes-Diaz was slain April 18 by MS-13 gang members who feared that she would go to police about a kidnapping and robbery that had occurred in the District, prosecutors said.
Funes-Diaz was lured to a tunnel in Riverdale, Md., where she was forced to strip and then was beaten with a baseball bat and cut with a machete in an attack that was recorded on camera, charging documents state.
Her body was abandoned in the woods for a month before police found it in a creek near where she was attacked, police said.
Three others have been charged as adults in the case: Joel Escobar, 17, of Northeast Washington; Cynthia Hernandez-Nucamendi, 14, of Lothian; and Josue Fuentes-Ponce, 16, of Bladensburg.
The case sparked wider national attention after the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency rebuked Maryland officials, saying they had released Escobar and Fuentes-Ponce at the close of an unrelated case without notifying federal immigration authorities.
ICE said that a year ago, it asked the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections to detain Escobar and Fuentes-Ponce for ICE officials after the teenagers were charged in a 2018 robbery case. The agency said that had county officials complied with its request, Funes-Diaz’s killing could have been prevented. The Washington Post generally does not name juveniles charged with a crime unless they are charged as adults, but federal officials released Fuentes-Ponce’s name in last year’s case.
Maryland officials rebutted ICE’s assertions, saying that holding the teens because of an ICE detainer would have violated state guidelines and that ICE should have obtained a criminal warrant if the agency wanted county officials to hold someone.
The juvenile detention facility that had held Fuentes-Ponce in 2018 said it had not directly received a request from ICE to detain him at the time he was due to be released.
Rios is in the District awaiting extradition to Prince George’s. Online court records did not list an attorney for him in the case.
Correction: This story was changed to correct the age of Edwin Rios.
Michael E. Miller contributed to this report.