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Suspect in New Orleans tour guide murder in US illegally, has criminal history: ICE

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At least one of the three suspects arrested in connection with the shooting death of a French Quarter tour guide in New Orleans is an illegal immigrant with a criminal history on American soil, according to immigration authorities. 

The immigration status of the other two suspects was not immediately clear.

New Orleans police arrested Joshua Bonifacio-Avila, 19, Jerben Albarec, 17, and Kevin Nunez, 15, the day after the slaying of 43-year-old Kristie Thibodeaux in her car on St. Peter Street, the morning of June 30.

Nunez is accused of pulling the trigger. And Aviala-Bonifacio, a Honduras national, is accused of entering the country illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Fox News Digital.

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Kristie Thibodeaux in a selfie photo, with black hair and red lipstick

“On May 11, 2019, U.S. Border Patrol encountered Bonifacio near Hidalgo, Texas, and determined him to be inadmissible into the U.S. pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act,” an ICE spokesperson said. “On multiple occasions, Bonifacio has been arrested for theft and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles. Since February 2024, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has booked Bonifacio for five local violations.”

ICE does not have purview over juveniles, so the immigration status of the other two suspects was not immediately clear.

The agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations division, ERO, has lodged a detainer request for the suspect.

Crowds at Mardi Gras 2013

The slaying took place around 4:30 a.m. on June 30 as part of an armed robbery, New Orleans police said. They arrested all three suspects on July 1. The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office identified Thibodeaux as the victim on July 2.

Police were asking anyone with information on the case to contact homicide detectives at 504-658-5300.

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Nunez had an active arrest warrant at the time and was wearing an ankle monitor, according to the New Orleans-based FOX 8.

Joshua Aviala-Bonifacio mugshot shows him in a white t-shirt with short, curly hair standing in front of a white wall

Aviala-Bonifacio also had a criminal history, including arrests for alleged theft and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, according to ICE. He also used the alias Joshua Avila.

“This man should have never been in Louisiana,” Gov. Jeff Landry wrote on X. “Enough is enough. We must close our borders and keep our communities safe.”

Nunez’s criminal record on American soil included seven counts of aggravated assault, illegal possession of a handgun and domestic battery, WVUE-TV reported. Nevertheless, Chief Juvenile Court Judge Candice Bates-Anderson sentenced him to house arrest.

Bourbon Street crowd during Mardi Gras

He allegedly violated the terms in May but was walking free, without real-time digital monitoring, because his ankle monitor had been deactivated, according to the outlet.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment before business hours Thursday. 

Jeff Landry speaks to media in front of Supreme Court in Washington, DC

“With no guardrails from OJJ and OPJC, we as a city have to seriously consider shutting down electronic monitoring until we can be confident in the competence of the administrators to conduct real monitoring and the commitment of judges to ensure actual accountability for young defendants for violations and noncompliance,” prosecutors said in a statement to local media.

Jerben Albarec wears a tan shirt in his mugshot

The incident reportedly attracted intense scrutiny upon the city’s juvenile justice system and the company that provides ankle monitoring services.

Jill Dennis, of the Assured Supervision Accountability Program, a competing contractor, told FOX 8 the failure to properly monitor violent offenders like Nunez “is chaotic and insane.”

Bourbon Street in New Orleans' French Quarter swells with people during Mardis Gras

Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not immediately respond to a request for more information on the suspects.

Thibodeaux would have turned 44 next month. She is survived by her husband, her parents, four siblings and eight nieces and nephews, according to an online obituary.

Thibodeaux loved dogs, motorcycling, her Jeep, her old Mustang convertible and watching the sunset over Lake Pontchartrain with her husband, Jase.

A memorial service was held Wednesday.

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