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Joel Nevarez wanted for siccing pit-bull mix on bride at her wedding

Brittany Cortez will always remember her wedding day in part because of the scars she'll bear from it.

In an incredibly shocking incident, Joel Nevarez, a longtime friend with a history of mental issues, allegedly sicced his pit-bull mix on her at the reception and personally attacking her using a set of brass knuckles.

The story comes to us from 7News, which spoke to Cortez in the wake of the attack.

According to a police report cited by the station, Cortez and her new husband, Jorge Cortez-Trinidad, were celebrating with family and friends at around 1 a.m. on Sunday, August 12, at a home on Williams Street in Denver when Nevarez allegedly unleashed his pit-bull mix on Brittany.

The dog bit Cortez on the shoulder and back, causing wounds that required stitches, and physically dragged her on the ground by the hair. He also sunk his teeth into Cortez-Trinidad when he tried to get the dog to let go of her. Another wedding guest was bitten as well.

While this was going on, Nevarez allegedly punched Cortez while wearing brass knuckles.

Afterward, Nevarez got away, although the dog was captured. It's currently on a ten-day quarantine order at Denver Animal Shelter, where the animal's ultimate fate will be determined.

What motivated Nevarez's actions? That's speculation at this point, but both Cortez and Nevarez's sister, Monica Nevarez-Coronado, tell the station he has a history of mental troubles serious enough to have required hospitalization. Moreover, his behavior has reportedly gotten more extreme and unstable in the past few years, during which he's had more than one run-in with the law.

In fact, he's got a December 17 court date set for an assault allegedly committed last year, and he was on probation for destruction of private property at the time of the wedding.

Cortez, a childhood friend who's said to have cared for Nevarez after he was released from the hospital, says she invited him to the wedding because she feared problems if she didn't. The assault left her understandably traumatized, and Nevarez's sister is no less shaken. "I'm sleeping with my gun next to my nightstand because I am scared to just wake up and he's standing next to the bed," she tells 7News. "Who knows what he's capable of?"

Neither is his location known. He's currently wanted by Denver Police on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon -- a description that may refer to the dog, the brass knuckles or both. However, he remains at large and may have headed to Mexico, where his mother lives.

Here's a larger look at Nevarez's mug shot.

Joel Nevarez.
Joel Nevarez.

More from our News archive: "Bud Linton shoots pit bull dead after alleged attack on three other dogs."


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