Sheriff: Pregnant woman raped before being strangled to death

Stephanie Gonzalez // Family Photo

Two men are behind bars after a pregnant woman was raped, strangled to death and her family's home was set on fire to cover up the crime.

Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested 20-year-old Benjamin Vasquez Hernandez and 20-year-old Marco Antonio Hernandez.

The two men are not related but are both accused in the death of 19-year-old Stephanie Gonzalez.

Deputies were called out to her family's Puffin Road home just east of Edinburg early Monday morning.

Sheriff Lupe Trevio said both Benjamin and Marco Antonio Hernandez came to the house looking for Gonzalez's younger sister.

The pregnant woman allegedly told them to wait for her but Sheriff Trevio said the situation "escalated" when Benjamin Hernandez raped her.

Hernandez allegedly strangled her to death with an extension chord after the rape.

Sheriff Trevio said Marco Antonio Hernandez witnessed the crimes but did not step in to stop them.

Marco Antonio Hernandez allegedly stole a laptop and a TV. Deputies later found the TV in a nearby canal.

The two men allegedly set the house on fire to burn her body and destroy evidence in the crime.

Sheriff Trevio said the two suspects lived nearby and had known Gonzalez and her younger sister since high school.

The sheriff said one of the suspects even came by the family's house the next day to offer his condolences.

Both Benjamin Vasquez Hernandez andMarco Antonio Hernandez appeared before a judge at the Hidalgo County Jail on Friday morning.

Benjamin Vasquez Hernandez remains in custody under a $1.5 million dollar and Marco Antonio Hernandez remains in custody under $800,000 dollars in bonds.

The family is currently seeking donations to help witht he expense of losing their home and belongings.

If you would like to donate, the name of the account is under Maria del Carmen Leticia with IBC Bank.

Click here to follow Nadia Galindo on Facebook

Click here to follow Nadia Galindo on Twitter