Reported illegal immigrant charged with murder of beloved New Orleans French Quarter tour guide

A 19-year-old male reportedly was in the U.S. illegally when he was charged with the recent murder of a beloved New Orleans French Quarter tour guide.

Police arrested Joshua Aviala-Bonifacio and two other males, ages 17 and 15, on July 1 in connection with the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Kristie Thibodeaux, which occurred the day before. WGNO-TV reported Wednesday that Aviala-Bonifacio — a Honduran citizen — was in the U.S. illegally.

‘This man should have never been in Louisiana. Enough is enough. We must close our borders and keep our communities safe!’

An obituary for Thibodeaux says she was a hospitality hostess and tour guide for Crawl New Orleans and “touched many hearts and lives with her smile, her genuineness, and her loving spirit.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said U.S. Border Patrol encountered Aviala-Bonifacio in Texas on May 11, 2019, and determined he was inadmissible, WGNO said.

However, Border Patrol released Aviala-Bonifacio on an order of recognizance on May 14, 2019, WGNO reported, citing an ICE log of his movements.

Police in Kenner, Louisiana, arrested Aviala-Bonifacio for theft on Oct. 6, 2023, under the alias Joshua Avila, the station said. Kenner Police on Feb. 14 arrested Aviala-Bonifacio for theft and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles and three Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office fugitive attachments, WGNO said.

New Orleans Police said officers responded to a call just after 4:30 a.m. June 30 about a shooting at the intersection of Royal and St. Peter Streets, and officers found a deceased woman seated in a vehicle. The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office on July 2 identified the victim as 43-year-old Kristie Thibodeaux and determined she was fatally shot, police said.

Police identified three suspects — Aviala-Bonifacio and the two juvenile males — and arrested them on one count each of second-degree murder and attempted armed robbery; detectives determined the homicide occurred during an attempted armed robbery, police said.

Enforcement and Removal Operations on Monday placed Aviala-Bonifacio in the Orleans Parish Justice Center, the station said.

Republican Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry on Wednesday posted the following on X in regard to Aviala-Bonifacio: “This man should have never been in Louisiana. Enough is enough. We must close our borders and keep our communities safe!”

WGNO said the 15-year-old suspect allegedly was under supervision with an electronic ankle monitoring device, and New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams told the station, “This is a major problem, as a young defendant under court supervision and electronic monitoring should not have been able to roam freely about the city at any hour without some form of court action or notice to law enforcement.”

WGNO added that Louisiana State Attorney General Liz Murrill asked, “Where are the parents of these boys? They need to be held accountable, too. While I am working to help keep New Orleans safe, this is just another prime example of the dysfunction we are dealing with.”

The Orleans Parish Public Defender’s office is representing the three suspects and declined to comment on the pending case in line with agency policy, the Advocate reported.

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