Mirjana Puhar was born July 27 1995 in Smreska Mitorvica, Serbia, moved to the US when she was five years old and had appeared on the reality program "America's Next Top Model." On Feb 25 2015, she was found dead in a home on Norris Ave in Charlotte NC along with two other people.
The Puhar family fled their home after the Kosovo War and ended up in New York City with about $50 to their name. They moved to North Carolina about 11 years ago where her father is working as an electrician, her mother works in a restaurant and her younger brother attends East Mecklenburg High School. Mirjana had been modeling off and on since she was 12 years old with Barbizon and John Casablancas as well as runway shows during the Charlotte Fashion week.
She described herself as a wild child who skipped school, partied, fought and hung out with the wrong crowd. She attended East Mecklenburg High School and Queen's Grant High School in Mint Hill before dropping out halfway through the 10th grade at age sixteen. She did decide to ditch the wild crowd and get her GED at Central Piedmont Community College right before she learned that she had been picked for the 21st season of ANTM. She was the youngest member of the cast at 18 and among the shortest at 5' 91/2" as well as being the first from NC since 2006.
It has been reported that a friend of Puhar and her boyfriend Jonathon Cosme Alvarado, 23, had heard the gunshots at around 5 pm and called police after they had entered the home and found the three bodies. Puhar, 19, Alvarado and Jusmar Isiah Gonzaga-Garcia, 21, Alvarado's best friend and roommate were found dead within the residence.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team arrested Emmanuel Jesus Rangel, 19, this morning after he had been identified as a suspect in the shooting. He has been charged with three counts of first degree murder relating to that incident. He has also been charged with a shooting that happened on Feb 22 2015.
Police responded to a call of shots fired at the Microtel motel on 1603 Matthews Mint Hill Rd at about 1 am and found two men in a car that had been injured by gunfire. Rosool Jaleel Harrell, 22, of Charlotte NC was dead and the other man was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries. Rangel has been charged with first degree murder in the shooting as well as Edward Sanchez, 19. Emily Ann Isaacs, 18 has been charged with accessory after the fact in that murder and both her and Sanchez are being held in Harris County TX where they are being held awaiting extradition back to North Carolina.
The police have not released how the three had been killed in Charlotte officially but it can be a fair guess that they had been shot to death. They have also made no comment yet as to whether the two shootings are directly related and if others involved knew each other before the shootings. They have stated that the shootings seem to be drug related. It certainly a sad way for four lives to end so young but it may just be another example of the dangers of fast living and drugs.
Update Feb 27 2015:
It has been reported that Mirjana had hoped to move out of the Charlotte area soon after being on ANTM but the offers did not pour in as she had hoped. She had kept busy by working at various part time jobs at MacDonald's, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess and Hollister while waiting for a call that would have her moving to NYC or Hollywood. She had aspirations of working in the modeling or film industry but had also expressed fears of what in depth reporting of her life might uncover. Mirjana did not have an arrest record so it is unclear what she may have been referring to.
Rangel is scheduled for his first court appearance today.
Update March 2 2015:
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has sent a letter on Feb 27 2015 to DHS Secretary Jeh johnson asking whether Rangel is an illegal immigrant who applied for amnesty under Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Grassley had stated that he had been informed that Rangel had applied for and was granted the deferral and is concerned that it was pushed through quickly as many others have been. It has been reported that Rangel was known to be an active member of a gang and that should have prevented him from being granted the deferral.
More has been emerging about the shootings as well which police have suggested was an execution fueled by robbery. The police have released a list of items that were recovered from the home and that includes several cellphones, drugs, two knives, 9mm shells and a security box. All of the victims died from gunshots to the head and Mirjana died first since she had answered the door when Rangel approached. Alvarado was Mirjana's boyfriend of six months and he reportedly had only been in the US for the past year.
Alvarado's stepfather, James Jackson, stated that robbery had been the motive and added that 10 pairs of Nike sneakers Alvarado owned were stolen. He also felt that Rangel may have thought that his stepson had a lot of money because he had just paid $1,500 cash for a car at Rangel's father's car lot.
He went on to state that Rangel had shown up at the home with two friends and they opened fire on Mirjana when she opened the door. The killed Alvarado and Jusmar after they entered the home and the woman who accompanied them there was the driver. Jackson did state that Mirjana and his stepson were very much in love and had planned to get married. Jackson stated that his son wanted to show off his beautiful girlfriend and liked to dress smart. He added that he did not even know that she was a model and that she had never mentioned it around them.
Others paint a picture of Alvarado being a regular user of drugs, was known to carry large amounts of cash and moved in circles where guns were very common. his facebook page regularly showed pictures of marijuana, pictures of his friends with guns and he bragged on it about taking drugs often. It is reported that Mirjana became surrounded by this lifestyle after she fell in love with Alvarado and moved into his bungalow.
Alvarado's roommate Jusman also was known to post pictures of Marijuana and his friends smoking it but there is little stated as to how deep into that lifestyle he was. The police seem to think that Alvarado may have been the one who was possibly dealing in drugs but there seems to be a lot more investigating needed to clear the murky reports of the victims backgrounds.
So far Rangel is the only one charged with the shooting of the three in Charlotte NC and he has been connected to the shooting of Rasool Jaleel Harrell. That shooting in which Harrell was killed and another was injured is also believed to be drug related. Not much has been stated yet about harrell's background but his changing mugshots and tattoos seem to lend credence to his possible involvement with a gang or drug activities.
It would seem that Mirjana may well have fallen into the lifestyle that her boyfriend enjoyed when she moved in with him. It may also be that she wanted to live close to that lifestyle as well since she herself stated that she was wild and loved to party before. She certainly had the potential to work in modeling but after being on ANTM, her career did not seem to be advancing anywhere. Nothing has been reported as to why the modeling offers had not been rolling in for her and even if the answer is known, it may not ever be reported.
Update March 20 2015:
David Ezequel Lopez, 19, turned himself into police and is now the second man charged with the triple murder in Charlotte. He is in jail charged with three counts of first degree murder. The police have not stated what his role may have been in the murders or if he knew the three before the murders. Police have also not stated yet if they have tied to the shooting a few days before to this murder.
Update March 23 2015:
Senators Thom Tillis of NC and Chuck Grassley of Iowa have stated that Emmanuel Rangel was supposed to have been deported from the US for a 2012 drug possession charge. His application for relief under the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was approved in Dec 2013 before his deportation paperwork could be completed. That approval had granted him temporary amnesty as a child who had been brought to the US illegally as a child and it is what allowed him to still be in the US to commit the murders he is charged with. The question though is not so much of a why he was approved with the minor drug charge but why he had been approved while it was known that he had been a gang member. Pres Obama had expanded the DACA but he stated that the government would still be deporting those who were affiliated with gangs. Unfortunately, this only proves once again that what is stated is not necessarily what is done. Denial of his DACA application may very well have meant that four people would still be alive today.