Three charged in Facebook kidnapping and murder

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GREENBELT, MD —  Two Montgomery County men and a New Jersey man have been indicted on kidnapping conspiracy charges for luring a 22-year-old to man to Maryland to kill him, court documents said.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland indicted for conspiracy to kidnap:

Neris Moreno-Martinez, 19, of West New York, New Jersey;
Jose Israel Melendez-Rivera, 19, of Montgomery Village, Maryland; and
Reynaldo Alexi Granados-Vasquez, 21, of Gaithersburg, Maryland

The three men also face first degree murder charges and have been in custody since January.

Last November, officers found the body of a Jody Mejia, of New Jersey, in a shallow grave in a wooded area in Gaithersburg.

According to court documents, Moreno-Martinez created a fake Facebook account under the name of “Shaila Smith” and used it to communicate with the victim from October 1, 2016 through October 15, 2016. The indictment says, the suspects pretended to be “Shaila Smith” and expressed a romantic interest with the victim.

The persuaded the victim to travel to Melendez-Rivera’s address in Gaithersburg to meet the girl and even specified how he should travel, the indictment said .


Court documents say Moreno-Martinez who’s from New Jersey traveled to Maryland too, on October 15, 2016, “for the purpose of seizing and killing the victim.”

If found guilty of kidnapping conspiracy, all three suspects face the maximum sentence of life in prison.

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