In a dramatic conclusion to the trial, Lisa Jo Dykes, Nina Marano, and Charles Beltran have been found guilty in the murder of Marisela Botello-Valadez, with 60-year-old Dykes receiving a life sentence and a $10,000 fine for murder and 20 years in prison with an additional $10,000 fine for tampering with a human corpse.
The trial, held in Dallas County, shed light on the horrifying events that transpired on October 5, 2020. Marisela, visiting from Seattle, was fatally stabbed at the Mesquite residence she had visited with Beltran. The court heard that Dykes confronted the victim, leading to a fatal altercation witnessed by Beltran.
Marisela Botello-Valadez flew from Seattle to Dallas to visit a friend the weekend of October 2, 2020. On October 4, 2020, the friend Marisela was with in Dallas lost the keys to his house and became sick. Marisela then took a Lyft back out to Deep Ellum alone to enjoy her last night in Dallas. Shortly after she arrived in Deep Ellum, she met a man named Charles Beltran, AKA Chuck, and the two hit it off quickly and went back to his car to continue talking. They eventually left Deep Ellum to head back to the home Charles Beltran shared with Lisa Dykes and Nina Marano in Mesquite, Texas. The two stopped at a 7/11 store where Marisela purchased a couple of sodas and the two left. Marisela’s phone data stopped around 8 AM on October 5, 20520, at the Kensington Drive home in Mesquite.
While Marisela and Charles Beltran were asleep in the early hours of October 5, 2020, Lisa Dykes entered the room and straddled Marisela and began to stab her. Charles Beltran woke up to cries for help and saw Lisa Dykes coming back down with the knife and shoved her off the bed and attempted to separate the two.
Lisa Dykes told Charles Beltran “I told you not to bring any more girls over here. Why are you disrespecting us? You need to get your little <expletive> and leave now.” At that time, Charles Beltran turned back to see a lifeless Marisela lying back on the bed. He then left the room, washed his hands and splashed water on his face before re-entering the room to see if what he witnessed was true. When he returned, his testimony is that he was going to call 9–1–1 but Lisa Dykes talked him out of it, so he told her to “take care of it” and then got Nina Marano to come assist Lisa Dykes, at Dykes’ request, before he fled the home.
That same day, Lisa Dykes called into work, and then later that evening both her phone and Nina Marano’s phone ping in Wilmer, Texas, where Marisela’s remains were ultimately found some six months later. The location where Marisela’s remains were found was also less than 2 miles from Lisa Dykes’ previous home.
Lisa Dykes, Nina Marano, and Charles Beltran all then began to take steps to avoid law enforcement and being connected with this murder. Lisa Dykes lied to the FBI the week after the murder about Charles Beltran, while Nina Marano called her neighbor realtor in Pennsylvania to urgently list her Pennsylvania home the week news articles began to circulate about Marisela’s disappearance. The black Audi that Charles Beltran used to drive Marisela back to the Kensington home that Lisa Dykes had purchased for him was shipped from Dallas to Pennsylvania and then sold in New York, however, law enforcement was able to stop the sale and seize and process the car from the dealership. Even though Lisa Dykes had just renewed her lease on the Kensington home in Mesquite on October 1st — the home appeared abandoned by the time Dallas Police Department executed a search warrant at the residence on October 31, 2020. When the Dallas Police Department executed a second search warrant on the home in December of 2020, the home was completely cleaned out, however, they were able to locate several areas in the home that had presumptive positive tests for the presence of blood. One of which came back to match the DNA of Marisela.
From October 2020 until their arrests in late March and early April 2021, Lisa Dykes, Nina Marano, and Charles Beltran spent time moving between Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Mexico, Florida, and Utah. March 25, 2021, Nina Marano was arrested outside of her Miami apartment after coordinated surveillance efforts between the Dallas Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. During that arrest, Lisa Dykes ran from the apartment and called family for money to take a Uber/Lyft/Taxi to Orlando where she was arrested after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement tracked her cellphone activity and located her purchasing a new cellphone in an Orlando mall on March 26, 2020. Subsequent phone extractions pursuant to search warrants on that new phone showed that Lisa Dykes was texting identifying this phone as her “burner” phone and making plans to get out of Florida quickly, making plans to meet up with Charles Beltran, and attempting to get access to Nina Marano’s money since she was now in jail. Charles Beltran was arrested days later in Utah with the help of coordinated efforts between the Dallas Police Department, the US Marshals Service, and West Jordan Police Department in Utah.
After Lisa Dykes, Nina Marano, and Charles Beltran were all extradited to Dallas County, Lisa Dykes and Nina Marano were released on bail with electronic leg monitoring devices. The two women quickly got to work creating an LLC, applying for lost passports, and applying for visas in Cambodia under the guise of scouting local artists for their newly created LLC. On December 25, 2021, Lisa Dykes and Nina Marano submerged their ELM devices and both stopped sending signals within minutes of one another and the two then boarded a morning flight to Cambodia. Thanks to the diligent work of the Pre-Trial services department, the stopped signal was caught on December 27, 2021, and a warrant was issued that same day.
Thanks to coordinated efforts between the Dallas Police Department, the FBI, and State and Local law enforcement task forces in Cambodia, Lisa Dykes and Nina Marano were located, arrested, and deported from Cambodia back to the United States. During that arrest, Lisa Dykes made a point to stare down FBI Legal Attaché Kathleen Nichols and ask “What jurisdiction do you have here?” In their possessions seized by law enforcement were several cell phones and sim cards, multiple computers, paperwork, and a document that contained a list of countries without extradition treaties.