Updated: Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 1:03 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 08 Jun 2011, 10:15 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Did illegal immigrants gun down a well-known businessman in cold blood? His family and investigators spoke about the murder near the Mexican border.
Larry Link owned the former tourist hot spot, Steins Ghost Town, on Interstate 10 about 60 miles from the Mexico border.
His daughter, Pamela Link, said no one had a grudge against him, “He never had an enemy," she said.
They are shocked that someone shot and murdered the 68-year-old Tuesday in Hidalgo County.
The tourist attraction once drew 90,000 people a year, but Link shut it down three years ago because of thieves and vandals.
Investigators said Link was found next to his car. He'd been shot twice.
“The whole world knew him as Uncle Larry; that's how he introduced himself,” Link’s daughter said.
New Mexico State Police are investigating but aren't giving any details. They have no suspects.
Shortly after the murder, the Internet was alive with bloggers claiming Link was gunned down by an illegal immigrant . Hidalgo County Commissioner Ed Kerr told the Las Cruces Sun News that undocumented illegals pick up and deliver drugs in the area.
Border Patrol agents said Wednesday there is no evidence illegal immigrants were involved in the murder.
No matter who killed him, the family is devastated.
“He was a father and a husband and a grandfather,” Pamela Link said.
Link and his wife recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Family members said they do not want Link's murder used for political gain or as a debating point on illegal immigration.
Link's family also said it does not want his murder linked to last year's murder of a rancher just across the state line and closer to Mexico in Arizona.
Investigators believe that killer was an illegal immigrant. Robert Krentz had just radioed his brother telling him he'd found an illegal immigrant on his land. Then he was dead.
No one has been arrested in the murder, but that killing did lead to intensified calls for more border security.