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A New Jersey Teenager Reported Her Boyfriend to Police for Assault. One Week Later, He Strangled Her to Death.

new jersey teen reported boyfriend week later he murdered her
Source: Union County Prosecutor's Office; Unsplash

Jul. 17 2023, Published 12:05 p.m. ET

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A New Jersey man was convicted of strangling his teen girlfriend to death in 2020 and could spend the rest of his life in prison, according to authorities.

On July 11, a jury in Union County found 23-year-old Bryan Gonzalez Martines guilty on one count of first-degree murder following a month-long trial, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

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On July 6, 2020, officers from the Plainfield Police Department conducted a welfare check at a home in Plainfield and found 19-year-old Brenda Montoya-Cruz deceased, officials said. The victim died of asphyxiation.

Court documents state the victim’s boyfriend, Gonzalez Martines, was inside the apartment when the welfare check was taking place. As police were responding to the home, he was able to jump off a second-story roof and escape.

While in the apartment, police reportedly found Gonzalez Martines’ wallet, and a juvenile neighbor was able to identify him to police, authorities said.

Gonzalez Martines was arrested the next day and he was booked into the Union County Jail.

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According to, Gonzalez Martines’ father was the person who called police and asked for a welfare check after his son allegedly told him he had done “something bad.”

A week before Montoya-Cruz’s death, she allegedly reported Gonzalez Martines to police claiming he assaulted and threatened her. He was charged with aggravated assault.

Gonzalez Martines remains in Union County Jail and is set to be sentenced on Sept. 29, where he faces up to life in state prison.


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