A 12-year-old girl from Houston, Texas, was brutally strangled to death, and her body was dumped in a creek, officials said.

Jocelyn Nungaray’s family is demanding justice after the preteen was murdered after sneaking out of her home on Sunday night, KENS5 reported

“They took away my first-born. I was a teen mom; she helped me grow, mature,” Jocelyn’s mother, Alexis Nungaray, said. “She turned into a beautiful, beautiful young lady.”

“I’m, like, angry that they took advantage of her. She was so young. She was 12. You took my baby away. You took her away,” the grieving mom said. “Now, I get to let her little brother know his older sister is never coming home.”

Jocelyn was last seen alive on surveillance footage from a convenience store she walked to not far from the apartment complex where she lived. 

The girl was on the phone with her 13-year-old boyfriend when she was in the store, Houston Mayor John Whitmire said at a press conference.

“It appears that he last talked to her at a convenience store around midnight [and] heard her talking to two grown-ups,” Whitmire said. 

Two men also seen on surveillance footage were detained by the Houston Police Department on Thursday in connection to Jocelyn’s death, though it is not immediately clear if they were the same people heard by the victim’s boyfriend over the phone. 

A woman called 911 shortly after 6:00 a.m. on Monday when she noticed a child’s body in shallow water under a bridge on West Rankin Road, Click2Houston reported.

“I had dropped my husband at work, and I was going home, and I was just driving — I just happened to look over. She was there. I thought it was a mannequin,” Billie Jean Jackson told the outlet. 

​​​​“How can somebody do this? How can somebody leave someone lying there? It’s not something you expect to see anywhere.”

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences found that Jocelyn died of strangulation. 

Mayor Whitmire said that she had also been raped, but Houston police say a sexual assault investigation is currently underway, and the men have not been so charged at this time.

“My sister, nephew, and family deserve justice,” Jocelyn’s uncle, Joamel Guevara, told KENS5. “We will not sleep until justice is served and these predators are in the Harris County Jail. In God’s name, we pray!”

“Jocy was a smart, loving, nurturing young lady. She brightened up the room every time she came by and was loved by everyone around,” Guevara continued. “She had no reason to die the way she did.” 

Alexis Nungaray said she did not know why her daughter snuck out that fateful night. 

The family is raising money for funeral expenses on GoFundMe

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the charges in this case.