Brick woman sought in wife’s murder is arrested in Houston

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Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 48, of Brick Township has been charged with Murder in connection with the death of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus, 32, of Brick Township. [Courtesy of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — The Brick Township woman  charged with using a wine container to murder her wife was apprehended in Houston, Texas on Wednesday after a two-day manhunt by local and federal law enforcement.

Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 48, of Brick Township is charged with the murder of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus, 32, of Brick Township. The suspect is also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. 

A warrant for the suspect’s arrest was issued on May 18. After fleeing the scene of the crime, she was considered a fugitive until her capture Wednesday. She was ultimately tracked down in Houston, Texas by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service and Houston Police Department. 

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“It is our understanding that Gavilanez-Alectus traveled to Houston, from New York City by bus,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement Thursday morning.

Around noon on Sunday, May 17, Brick Township police discovered what they described as a “suspicious” lifeless victim in a bedroom at 28 Creek Road, after responding to a report of an unresponsive woman.

An autopsy performed by the Ocean County Medical Examiner determined that the manner of death was homicide. 

A joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosceutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that a “cylindrical container used for the purpose of chilling wine” was the weapon used in the murder, consistent with the victim’s injuries, according to the release. A warrant was issued for the suspect’s arrest.

“Further investigation ultimately determined that Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus did, in fact, cause the victim’s death,” the release stated.

“I am extremely grateful for the support of our federal law enforcement partners, as well as our law enforcement partners in Houston, Texas,” Prosecutor Billhimer said. 

“It is extremely satisfying when law enforcement works together and we are able to get a dangerous person like Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus into custody. We will immediately begin extradition proceedings to bring Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus back to Ocean County to answer for these charges. Justice for Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus weighs heavy on all of our minds.”

Prosecutor Billhimer and Brick Township Chief of Police James Riccio thanked the the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New York Police Department, United States Marshals Service, and Houston Police Department for their help in the investigation and arrest of the suspect.