Family of murdered UNM student pleads for answers

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The case of a University of New Mexico student murdered just feet from campus remains unsolved more than two years later.

Juan Carlos Romero was just 26 years old when he was gunned down outside of UNM, on the corner of Central and Stanford. But after years of no answers, a family member decided to write a letter to the mayor as a plea to get the case moving forward.

“Dear Mayor: My godson Juan Carlos Romero was killed in the early morning hours of February 7, 2017,” said State Rep. Miguel Garcia, as he read the first line from his letter.

With no answers after close to three years, Garcia said writing a letter pleading for help was his best option. “His 26-year-old body lay on a cold sidewalk…” Garcia read.

Still, the family of Juan Carlos Romero is no closer to knowing who’s responsible, or why he was killed. He was found murdered on the sidewalk at Stanford and Central with no suspect ever named. “His iPhone and his wallet, his credit cards were still in his possession. It was real random,” Garcia said.

Romero’s father, Carlos, says the loss of his son has been hard to bear. “It’s left us as a family completely devastated. My wife feels sad every day because she has no closure,” he said.

He says his son was an artist, a substitute teacher, had three degrees from UNM, and was working toward his graduate degree. “He had just a lot of energy, a lot of drive, to better himself, and make himself a better person,” Romero said.

The words from Garcia’s letter got a response from the mayor. There is now a reward for tips in the case. “We just want to understand why they were compelled to take our son’s life away,” said Romero.

The mayor agreed to set up a meeting with the Romero family to discuss the case, and arrange the Crime Stoppers reward.

KRQE News 13 asked the Albuquerque Police Department if there are any updates in the case, but have not heard back. So far, the reward has reached more than $11,000.

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