The case of a murdered 14-year-old in Connecticut deepened this week with the discovery that another young teen played a part in the crime. Police say 19-year-old Diante Willoughby of Bridgeport used social media app Snapchat to lure Jose Nunez from his home before taking him to a remote location and killing him. Now, a second 14-year-old has come forward, telling authorities that he was “complicit” in the unthinkable deed.
Nunez’s family told CBS New York that the boy had known Willoughby for a few months prior to the killing. The 19-year-old would visit Nunez’s neighborhood often and interact with the local children.
“He would buy them Uber Eats,” said Wendy Rivera, Nunez’s aunt. “He would give them money for anything.”
Nunez communicated with Willoughby regularly on Snapchat. This made the boy’s mother, Carmen Velez, uncomfortable enough to contact the police multiple times.
“This is not the fist time I told them that he kept contacting my son,” she said. “Now I will never get to send my son to high school.”
On Tuesday, July 28, Nunez’s parents awoke to find their front door wide open and Jose missing. Immediately suspecting Willoughby’s involvement, they called the police.
“We interviewed someone who provided us with information,” Captain Brian Fitzgerald said in a public statement. The informant reportedly told police he had heard Willoughby bragging about killing Nunez and dumping his body.
The next day, police found the body at a location where Willoughby was said to have been sighted earlier. Later that day, they arrested Willoughby during a traffic stop and took him into custody.
“He made admissions to his involvement in the death of Mr. Nunez,” Fitzgerald confirmed.
According to the Hartford Courant, Willoughby told police he had received sexually explicit images of himself from Nunez as a form of blackmail. He also accused the boy of trying to blackmail him on prior occasions and attempting to rob him with a BB gun.
Police say they have been unable to verify Willoughby’s claims. They’re charging him with murder, murder with special circumstances and risk of injury to a child. He is currently being held with bail set at $2 million.
Nearly a week after Willoughby’s arrest, an unidentified 14-year-old turned himself in to police on the night of August 3.
According to a statement from Bridgeport Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the boy “made [an] admission to detectives regarding his role in Nunez’s death.” While police have not confirmed what the boy’s exact role in the homicide was, they are charging him with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
In response to their unthinkable loss, Nunez’s parents are now calling for parents to use caution when giving their kids smartphones. The boy’s father, Higinio Campos, said Snapchat’s automatic deletion feature made it hard for him to provide information to police that could have saved his son.
“These people were able to get him through Snapchat and lure him right out of my house,” Campos said in a public statement. “I woke up with my door wide open. [I] woke up five in the morning, my door wide open, my son missing.”
Campos also thanked detectives and police for their work, but criticized the official process of finding missing children.
“If I tell you this guy got my kid, just go check it out,” Campos said. “If I say I think this guy got my son, don’t give me a yellow piece of paper and then tell me to go over here and waste more time.”