Man dead after armed robbery in south Austin; police seeking three suspects

March 24, 2019 - 1:06 pm

AUSTIN (KJCE) -- One person is dead and police are searching for three suspects after an armed robbery turned deadly in south Austin early Sunday morning.

Austin Police say they received multiple 9-1-1 calls about a disturbance in the 1200 block of Southport Drive, just northeast of Ben White and Manchaca, around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. When first responders arrived on scene, they found 34-year old Benito Luna Vargas. Police say Vargas had been beaten and left unconscious; EMS transported Vargas to South Austin Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at 1:01 a.m.

Homicide investigators learned a second man had been assaulted during the same incident. He had also been transported to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center where he was treated and released for his injuries.

Witnesses learned that 37-year old Jessica Romero and two other suspects, one described as a heavyset Hispanic female in her late 20s to 30s and the other a heavyset Hispanic male in his late 40s to 50s, entered the residence and began assaulting the two victims while demanding valuables.

Romero is described as being approximately 5’7”, 130 pounds and has a distinctive mole under her left nostril.

The Travis County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy this morning and determined the manner of death to be homicide.

Romero is currently facing aggravated robbery charges, although all three suspects may face capital murder charges with Vargas' death.

There is an active warrant for Jessica Romero and up to $1,000 reward for information leading to her arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call APD’s Homicide Unit at (512) 477-3588.

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