Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crimes Below the Belt II: Beheaded

The Dog Ate It

Rene Nunez
Rene Nunez

Reminiscent of the John and Lorena Bobbit incident from 2003 is yet another case involving the unhappy couple Delmy Ruiz, 49, of El Salvador, and her boyfriend Rene Aramando Nuñez, 34, who had a turbulent relationship with similarly disastrous consequences. Ruiz was arrested for emasculating her boyfriend with a kitchen knife as he slept after allegedly tying her up, raping her and demanding oral sex at her Harris County, Texas, home in October 2004. According to police records, Ruiz threw the severed penis onto her deck at the back of her house, which was then picked up by a black dog. It was unclear what the dog did thereafter, but investigators believe that Nuñez's penis was eaten by the animal. Neither the knife nor Nuñez's penis were ever recovered.

Delmy Ruiz
Delmy Ruiz

When the case went to trial in July 2006, prosecutors contended that Ruiz had deliberately planned Nuñez's mutilation because she was angry that he had allegedly been cheating on her. They claimed that she lured him to her house on the night in question, tied him up and mutilated him out of jealousy. Evidence was shown at trial that included pictures of rope burns on Nuñez's ankles, suggesting that he had been tied up prior to the attack.

The defense claimed that Ruiz had been sexually abused by her boyfriend and had been acting in self-defense at the time she mutilated him. Ruiz took the stand on her behalf and told jurors at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center that Nuñez had previously tortured her with "things she loved the most" and that he brutally "killed her pet dogs and cat in front of her," Cynthia Cisneros reported for ABC 13 in Houston. Ruiz alleged that Nuñez was most violent during times of intimacy and that she was not allowed to have her daughters visit because he was jealous and wanted all of her attention, it was further reported. The defense used the fact that Nuñez had pleaded guilty to assaulting Ruiz in 2003, a crime for which he had been arrested, as proof of his abusive behavior towards her. At the time of that conviction, he was "ordered to have no contact with Ruiz and was placed on deferred adjudication and two years probation," Peggy O'Hare reported for the Houston Chronicle. At the time he was mutilated, Nuñez was still on probation.

Harris County Criminal Justice Center
Harris County Criminal Justice Center

On July 26, 2007, a jury returned a verdict in the case, finding Ruiz guilty of aggravated assault against her boyfriend. She was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $10,000 in damages. Ruiz showed little reaction to her sentence. However, her niece Maria Orrellana, 22, appeared frustrated by the verdict branding it "unfair" but noting that "at least he won't be able to bug anymore women," Andrew Tilghman reported for the Houston Chronicle.

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