ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - New Mexico State Police have arrested two men in connection with the man found dead in the El Malpais area Saturday.
Albuquerque Police started tracking the credit- and debit-card information of an Albuquerque man reported missing in November . The activity led investigators to Cibola County where detectives with Albuquerque Police Department and Grants Police Department identified Bryce Franklin, 20, and Clifford Bearden, 22, as suspects in the fraud and forgery case.
While the Office of the Medical Investigator is still working to positively identity the man using dental records, Bearden and Franklin are charged with his murder.
The victim's body was retrieved in the El Malpais National Monument about 60-65 feet down a cave known as the Double Sink. Investigators were led there by Bearden and Franklin.
New Mexico State Police have not released the identity of the victim, but KRQE News 13 has learned investigators believe it to be the body of a junior architecture student at the University of New Mexico.
The 23-year-old man was reported missing on Nov. 10 by his sister who became worried after Halloween when she was unable to reach him. She found his apartment door unlocked, his wallet there but his credit cards.
Investigators say the motive had something to do with money but they are still investigating. They believe the suspects knew the victim before the killing.
Bearden and Franklin have a history of burglary arrests. Franklin has one violent crime on his record and aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and false imprisonment from 2008.
Both are now charged with open counts of murder.
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