Arrest Made in Grisly NYC Case of 2 Found in Burning Car

The victims, a 22-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man, were found after firefighters had doused the flames. It wasn't long after that they started to suspect it wasn't a fire that killed them

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Police arrested one of the suspects wanted in connection to a grisly 2022 double murder that left a a pair of 22-year-olds dead, with their bodies found in a flaming vehicle in the Bronx, according to investigators.

In a case that has been haunting two families for nearly a year, the remains of victims Nikki Huang and Jesse Parilla were discovered once firefighters put out the flames from the May 16 car fire on Shore Road in Pelham Bay Park, near Pelham Split Rock Golf Course. Both Huang and Parilla, who lived in Manhattan, had been shot in their heads and elsewhere on their bodies before being set on fire, police said.

Parilla was giving Huang a ride in his mom’s Honda Accord as the two were trying to get her stolen purse back, investigators said. Autopsies found extensive burns on their bodies in addition to the gunshot wounds.

On Tuesday, police arrested Jahmel Sanders after a months-long manhunt. Sanders now faces 17 charges, as police tied him to the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Huan and Parilla. Sanders, 30, did not answer questions from reporters as police led him out of the stationhouse in handcuffs.

Three people have been arrested in the case, and police are still looking for 34-year-old Steven Santiago (below).

Steven Santiago

Police had said there were no signs of a crash before the sedan caught fire. The relationship between the victims wasn't clear, nor was their potential connection to the suspects.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact police. There is now a $10,000 reward being offered for information leading to Santiago's arrest.

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