Updated: Saturday, 11 Jun 2011, 3:30 PM MDT
Published : Friday, 10 Jun 2011, 6:55 PM MDT
SAN PATRICIO, N.M. (KRQE) - Prosecutors are charging two teens accused of smothering their foster mom as adults.
Alexis Shields of Mescalero and Desiree Linares of Roswell are both 15, but they face back-to-back life sentences plus more than 97 years behind bars if convicted. Both girls pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping, auto theft and conspiracy charges Friday in District Court in Carrizozo.
The foster mother Evelyn Miranda, 53, was found tied up and dead early Wednesday morning at her house in San Patricio.
Police say Linares had been with Miranda for only two days, and Shields had been in the victim's home for less than three weeks.
Investigators believe one of the girls gripped the victim in a choke hold while the other bound her hands and feet with phone and electrical cords.
Investigators believe they smothered the woman with a pillow. Detectives said they then stole the woman's laptop, cell phone and van.
The girls were caught in Carlsbad Wednesday night with help from the U.S. Marshals Service and a tip.
"I think it was a boyfriend that they were in contact with that helped. They tracked them down that way," said Lincoln County Undersheriff Robert Shepperd.
Detectives found the victim's van in Roswell. They believe a friend may have helped the girls get to Carlsbad. There is no word yet on a motive. Both girls are being held in the Chaves County Juvenile Detention Center.
Miranda was a well-known hairdresser in San Patricio. Her family and friends packed the court room Friday.