Woman arrested in deadly Sunland Park fire

Arrest in Sunland arson case

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - Police have arrested a woman in connection with a fire in Sunland Park that killed an 8-year-old girl.

Jocelyn Ontiveros, 30, is facing a slew of charges including eight arson charges, abuse of a child resulting in death and tampering with evidence. 

The fire, which happened on December 13th, claimed the life of 8-year-old Marisa Muñoz, a 3rd grade student at Desert View Elementary.

Two other children inside the home were flown to a burn center in Lubbock, Texas. The family lost everything in the fire.

The exact cause of death of Munoz is still unknown and the State Fire Marshal's Office will continue to investigate the fire. 

Of the five children inside Marisa died and two others were taken to the Lubbock burn center.
Now released and expected to recover, we spoke to one of their friends who said the apparent feud between Marisa’s mother and Ontiveros started on social media.

“They started posting stuff on Facebook and some other girl got into it, and so they started fighting over the comments and everything," a friend of the childred said she was told.

One of the children then told her friends she had heard a noise outside their home the night of the fire, as if someone were on the property.

“She didn’t went outside and checked, she just thought it was somebody from the family that was gonna come inside or something, so she just went on. She went to go check on the kids and nothing was actually there," said the friend.

The girl would then wake up to the fire.

ABC-7 spoke with family members off-camera. They said the only thing they could share about Ontiveros’ relationship with them is that it seemed Ontiveros hated Marisa’s mother.
Right outside the burnt home lies a small memorial that’s been growing over the past week--all of it centered around two photographs of 8-year-old Marisa Muñoz. Next to it are flowers, balloons, teddybears, a wrapped Christmas, and even an ornament playing Christmas music with no one around to hear.

Family members said the arrest won’t bring back their Marisa.

Even with this arrest, the case is not over, the investigation continues.

“We are currently working on more information. I’m asking the public if they have any information that could help us in the Investigation of this case to please reach out," said Javier Guerra, Sunland Park Police Chief.

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