Man charged in murders of mother, daughter in Worcester signs extradition waiver in California court

The man charged in connection with the murders of a mother and her daughter in Worcester last week faced a judge Friday in a courtroom in California, where he signed a waiver of extradition following his capture on Monday night, officials said.

Dejan Dante Belnavis, 27, was arraigned in San Diego Superior Court on charges in connection with his arrest by U.S. Marshals after a dayslong manhunt that also involved Massachusetts State Police and the Worcester Police Department, according to authorities.

Belnavis will be returned to Massachusetts soon to face murder charges in Worcester in the deaths of Chasity Nunez and her 11-year-old daughter, Zella, a spokesperson for the Worcester District Attorney’s Office said.

Local law enforcement officials traveled to California after Belnavis’ capture and will escort him back east.

A second suspect in the murders, 28-year-old Karel Mangual, was arraigned last week on charges of armed assault to murder and carrying a firearm without a license. He returned to court earlier this week to face an upgraded murder charge and is being held without bail.

Belnavis and Mangual are no strangers to run-ins with law enforcement, according to Worcester District Court documents obtained by Boston 25 News.

The two have faced a slew of violent charges that date back to 2014.

The bodies of Chasity and Zella were discovered in a white, bullet-riddled SUV that was parked in the area of Englewood Avenue in the Columbus Park neighborhood of Worcester. Court documents indicated that neither was breathing or had a pulse when police arrived.

Sgt. Sean Murtha, Public Information Officer for the Worcester Police Department, said a “fairly high number” of shots were fired into the vehicle.

A motive in the shootings of Chasity and Zella wasn’t immediately clear.

Chastity Nuñez was a member of the Connecticut National Guard and received honors like the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Achievement Medal. Nuñez also served as a Patient Safety & Clinical Quality Program Coordinator at MIT Health since July 2023.

Zella was a student at Worcester Public Schools.

‘Destined for success’: Mom killed in Worcester was decorated National Guard member, healthcare pro

Hundreds turned out for visiting hours for Chasity and Zella on Thursday.

There was no immediate word on when Belnavis would be transported back for a local court appearance.

An investigation into the deaths remains ongoing.

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