New Mexico

Chaves County deputies investigate third murder in three weeks

CHAVES COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) - The Chaves County Sheriff’s Department has been busy in the month of March. Deputies saw their first homicide of the year just two weeks ago, and since then they've seen two more.

Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder says they investigate two homicides on average each year. Now they've seen three in a month, with the last one being an execution style murder.

A man was walking his dogs down a rural Chaves County road when he came across what the sheriff is calling the county's third homicide in just three weeks.

"For us to have three this close together in about a two week period. It's very unusual,” Snyder said.

The Chaves County Sheriff’s Department responded to its first homicide of the year on March 8, where they found 48-year old Garland Troy Berg shot to death in Midway. That case is still under investigation.

Ten days later, deputies responded to a homicide in Hagerman. The victim has been identified as 46-year-old Luciano De Anda Sifuentes.

“We were able to apprehend the person we believe is responsible for that case just a few minutes after that shooting,” Snyder said.

Jose Dominguez was charged with second degree murder in that case.

The most recent homicide occurred last Thursday.

“For lack of a better description, that appears to be an execution, it really does. They took that girl out there and executed her,” Snyder said.

The body of 29-year-old Marisela Barela was found, marking a third homicide in under three weeks and leaving residents on edge.

"There’s people willing to kill each other in this community. I think we need stronger law enforcement,” said Vicky Purcell of Roswell.

“They should investigate further, you know?” said Charlie Marcus of Roswell. “Investigate all of these homicides. We don’t want to get like it is in Albuquerque where you get five deaths in six days.”

Sheriff Snyder does not believe any of the cases are related.

“We are the voice of these victims,” Snyder said. “Without us bringing someone to prosecution, there’s no one else that will do it, so we take that very personally.”

Deputies are still trying to gather info from Thursday’s homicide. They are asking anyone with information on the two outstanding murders to please call the sheriff's department.

There was also a murder on March 17 in Roswell city limits. Roswell police say no arrests have been made in that case.


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