Maria Muñoz’s Husband: Where Is Joel Pellot Now?

Maria Muñoz
Photo Credits: CBS News

The case of 31-year-old Maria Muñoz‘s death was allegedly caused by intoxication and a mix of multiple different drugs in the body on September 22, 2020. Although initial evidence pointed towards the possibility of a suicide or an accident, further questioning led to her anesthesiologist husband, Joel Pellot’s arrest. After a long investigation of a lot of inconclusive evidence, the trial concluded with Pellot being held guilty of Maria’s murder and the tampering of evidence.

Joel Pellot is serving his sentence of imprisonment for life at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. An inconclusive autopsy report which could establish the cause of death but failed to clarify doubts on the manner of the death defended Joel Pellot strongly. The cause of death was a mix of various drugs including morphine. Signs of force were absent on the body. The defence claimed that this absence is proof of Maria Muñoz taking the drugs voluntarily.

Pellot was an anesthesiologist and had access to all kinds of drugs in and outside the market. Maria Muñoz’s death was caused by a mix of unlikely drugs including morphine and nearly seven other harmful drugs. Pellot also argued that he and Maria would sometimes like to get high and that is all that happened that day. However, the presence of certain drugs like profonol in the body proved otherwise.

Maria Muñoz’s husband Joel Pellot convicted of her murder

One of the most interesting evidence that the investigators got hold of, was Maria Muñoz’s journal. They attempted to analyse Maria’s state of mind and behaviour before her death. This, alongside the testimonies of Maria’s friends and family, proved that she was in a rather unhappy marriage in the days leading up to her passing. The journals didn’t point towards any suicidal thoughts or behaviour as such.

Joel Pellot was also having an affair with Janet Arrendondo. Pellot reportedly told Janet that he was planning to end the marriage with Maria Muñoz for. The strongest evidence, however, was the presence of propofol in Maria’s body. Contrary to Joel’s statement, propofol is never used as a drug to get high but is restricted to the operation theater. This is because patients are certain to stop breathing and need an external supply of oxygen. Pellot was found to be the most probable source of propofol for Maria.

Both sides put up fairly strong arguments in court and the trial concluded on March 30, 2023. Joel Pellot was held guilty of his wife’s murder as well as the tampering of evidence. Pellot reportedly pushed Maria’s sister to agree to a cremation. He claimed that it was what Maria always wanted. The journals and accounts of Maria Muñoz’s mental distress and marriage were extremely resourceful in Pellot’s conviction.

The Journals of Maria Muñoz is an episode of CBS 48 Hours that will be airing on CBS on December 16, 2023, at 10 p.m. ET. The episode explores the life and mysterious death of Maria Muñoz through the examination of her journals.

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