Two members of the Navajo Nation—a father and daughter—died last Friday trying to save their dog from a flooded arroyo in Tohatchi. Witnesses say the family's dog jumped into the arroyo during heavy rains, and the daughter, 21-year-old Aschley Levier, jumped in to save it. But the water was moving too swiftly, and she was having trouble fighting it when her father, 46-year-old Jay Levier, went in after her. Both of them were swept away with the current. More than one hundred volunteers searched the arroyo Friday night. The bodies of Aschley and Jay were eventually found, as well as the dog, who was discovered alive. Family members took the time Saturday to remind the community that arroyos are dangerous and should never be entered.
SWAT Team Called to Southeast Apartments
A SWAT team was sent to a southeast Albuquerque apartment Saturday morning after 911 dispatchers received a call from its occupant who had allegedly been threatened with a knife by a visiting friend. According to police, Brandon Smith and a woman were visiting a friend at the apartment when a fight between Smith and the friend began. Police say Smith then drew a knife and pointed it at the friend, who ran from the apartment and made the 911 call. Smith then reportedly barricaded himself in the apartment and would not allow the woman with him to leave. Police called SWAT in response to the situation, but the woman was able to escape and Smith eventually surrendered to officers on the scene. Smith is being charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping.
Suspect in Martens Murder Should Have Been Under Supervision
According to court officials, Fabian Gonzales—one of three suspects tied to the rape and murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens—should have been under the supervision of a probation officer for a domestic violence and child abuse charge at the time of the murder. Gonzales was never assigned an officer, because he never checked in with the probation and parole office—a violation which could also have put him in jail. Officials from the 2nd Judicial District Court claimed they sent the proper paperwork to the state Corrections Department, who contend the Court sent it to outdated or invalid email addresses. According to court documents, Gonzales had been sentenced to two years of supervision and drug tests as well as counseling and drug-abuse treatment. Alex Sanchez, deputy secretary of administration for the Department of Corrections, told the Albuquerque Journal that the murder could still have happened, even if the suspect had been under supervision. Governor Susana Martinez has publicly called for a review of probation procedure to see how the error occurred.
Details of Hatch Officer Shooting Revealed by Hitchhiker
A hitchhiker who was traveling with two suspects in an Ohio homicide case claims he was unaware that they were on the run when they became involved in the murder of a Hatch Police officer last month. Tony Jones told the Las CrucesSun-News that he had just been released from jail and was homeless and unemployed when he first met Jesse Denver Hanes, 38, and James Nelson, 36, in a parking lot in Santa Clara, Calif. He said he needed a ride to Missouri—to visit his mother, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer—and the two men wanted help “seeing the sights.” Jones said that at no time during the following tour of California did he know that Hanes and Nelson were wanted for the aggravated murder of a 62-year-old man in Ohio. Jones described one incident to the Sun-News, though, where he claimed Hanes approached him with the prospect of robbing a bank, which Jones said he turned down. According to his statements, Jones was asleep in the backseat when Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez pulled the trio's car over on a traffic stop. Jones said he woke up as Chavez approached the car and heard him ask Hanes, “What's that in your hand?” before Hanes shot the officer and sped off. Jones said he tried to look back and see if Chavez was alright, but had to duck as another officer fired shots at the vehicle. Hanes then drove onto I-25 at speeds of up to 120mph before exiting at Rincon, where Jones said he pulled into a yard and all three men exited the vehicle. Jones reported that, while facing away from Hanes, he heard a gunshot, which turned out to be fired by Hanes, who had accidentally shot himself in the leg. Hanes reportedly entered the vehicle once more and drove away, leaving Jones and Nelson. Police say Hanes continued on I-25, stopping at a rest area near Radium Springs, where he carjacked and shot a driver before being stopped and arrested by police. Initially, police were not looking to charge Jones with anything, but Jones was indicted by a 3rd Judicial District grand jury on Aug. 25 on a possession of a controlled substance count because of 1.2 grams of methamphetamine found in his suitcase—which he claims is not actually his, but was put there by Nelson, who wanted to hide it from Hanes.
Pac Man Mural Replaced After Vandalism
A well-known Albuquerque mural painted on a warehouse at Lead and I-25—depicting video game characters Pac Man and two ghosts—which was commissioned by the warehouse employees years ago, became the target of vandalism last week when a man spent a half hour covering the mural in graffiti. A surveillance camera recorded the entire incident. City crews were called in to clean up the graffiti. The warehouse employees re-commissioned the original artist of the mural, who has since replaced it with a new scene featuring Nintendo characters Mario and Princess Peach.