Cousins Charged in Death of Texas Teen

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Two cousins have been charged with aggravated murder in the death of Dani Countryman, the 15-year-old Texas girl strangled at an apartment complex late last month, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said.

Alejandro Rivera Gamboa, 24, and Gilberto Javier Rivera Gamboa, 23, were lodged in the county jail and scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, said Detective Jim Strovink, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

"It is very satisfying for the sheriff's office to announce the arrest of these murder suspects, which will hopefully bring a modicum of relief to the community, the victim's family and friends," Strovink said.

Countryman, from Kaufman, Texas, was in Oregon visiting her sister, 20-year-old Ashley Countryman. On July 27, the sisters went to a party at an apartment complex in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie. They spent the night in separate apartments, and Ashley found Dani's body under a blanket when she went to get her in the morning.

Strovink did not disclose whether Dani was sexually assaulted, whether the men knew her or how she could have been killed with so many people around. Ashley Countryman said other guests were sleeping in the room where she found Dani. And the couple who lived there with their two toddlers were asleep elsewhere in the apartment.

Alejandro Rivera Gamboa was arrested July 28 at the apartment complex. He had an outstanding warrant for an unrelated drunk driving charge, Strovink said. His cousin, who lives at the apartment complex, was arrested there Monday.

If convicted of aggravated murder, the men could face the death penalty.

Dani's death came at the end of what her grandmother, Sandra Wright, referred to as a rough year, including the arrest of her father, Donald Countryman, who got out of jail shortly after Dani was killed.

Dani dropped out of school last winter, but she planned to return to complete her freshman year in Kaufman, southeast of Dallas, Wright told The Oregonian newspaper.