It was on September 22, 2020, when everything for the Muñozs shattered apart as 31-year-old mother of two Maria Eugenia Muñoz was found dead inside her own marital home in Laredo, Texas. After all, as carefully profiled in CBS’ ’48 Hours: The Journals of Maria Muñoz,’ she’d been the light of their life, only to be snatched away by none other than her estranged husband, Joel Pellot. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about them — this victim’s family — with a specific focus on their background, experiences, as well as current standing, we’ve got the essential details for you.
Who is Maria Muñoz’s Family?
Born on January 25, 1989, as one of three to Marisol Rodriguez and Jorge Luis Muñoz, Maria reportedly grew up in an incredibly loud yet caring, loving, supportive home in wondrous Puerto Rico. She sadly did lose her mother when she was barely an adult — around the same time she first met Joel — just to somehow power through to become the woman of their household for her siblings. Her sister is Marisol Muñoz, whereas her brother is Peter Hernandez, and they both still vividly remember how she’d cared for them even after she relocated to Texas to start a family of her own.
Therefore, of course, the news of Maria’s passing was heartwrenching for them all, especially since they were still based in their homeland and were thus only getting Joel’s version of the entire matter. “He called me [on the fateful day itself],” Marisol testified during his March 2023 trial for murder. “It was a short call. I asked him if Maria was dead and he said yes. I asked him if dad knew and he said yes. I disconnected the call because I wanted to get to my dad.” She spoke to him again roughly an hour later in the hopes of figuring out precisely what happened to her sister, but she allegedly just received unclear answers.
“I was given two responses. First he said it was a suicide,” Marisol said on the stand. “I asked him, ‘Overdosed on what?’ and he didn’t make any sense. I asked him again, ‘Overdose of what?’ and he told me it was from medication… I kept asking him about it, like what happened and if he did anything – – gave her CPR. He, in a very patronizing tone, said, ‘Mamita, you’re just in denial. You’re hurt.’ That upset me.” The fact he also insisted on cremating Maria instead of burying her next to their mother didn’t sit well with her either, yet he ultimately got what he wanted, with half of her ashes being distributed amongst the family.
The Muñoz family reportedly knew of Joel’s infidelity against Maria, however, it was still a shock for them to learn he’d actually killed her in cold blood because she was the mother of his children too. Though for Marisol in particular, one of the worst aspects of this whole ordeal was his purported complete lack of empathy towards them: “He didn’t even apologize. He didn’t recognize that I knew he was unfaithful. He didn’t recognize that I knew he was verbally abusive to my sister. He never showed any type of empathy towards us. On the contrary, he would always make us feel guilty because we wanted the truth.”
Where is Maria Muñoz’s Family Now?
After Joel was convicted of Maria’s atrocious homicide in early 2023, all three remaining members of her immediate family came forward to make impact statements during his sentencing hearing. While her father Jorge sent in a letter detailing how his former son-in-law not only killed his joy but also took away all future plans with his daughter plus grandsons, her brother Peter made it clear he will forever hate him for his needless actions. Then, Marisol’s emotional statement rang around as she called him a “nightmare” before he was sentenced to life in prison.
We should actually mention that despite everything, the Munozs have incredibly managed to find solace in the fact that at least Maria is now free from Joel’s control and can forever rest in peace. It hence comes as no surprise even they’re trying their best to move on with life these days, all the while keeping their lost loved ones’ memories alive in their hearts, minds, as well as souls.
Coming to Maria’s two boys in particular, Alejandro and Valentino Pellot, since they were mere toddlers when they lost their mother in the worst way imaginable, they were briefly taken in by Child Protective Services before being released to their paternal grandmother. According to reports, Marisol had once openly indicated she’d fight to attain their custody after Joel’s trial was brought to a close for good, but it’s unclear whether she has since filed any related claim or not. All we know is that all those related to Maria now prefer to remain well away from the limelight for privacy reasons, so it’s likely Alejandro and Valentino remain with their paternal grandmother in Texas.