Family says they found body parts of loved one at crash site more than a week later

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque family is trying to grieve the loss of their son following a fiery crash, but when they stopped by the crash scene, they made a disturbing discovery. Hector Sanchez, 18, was going to be a senior this year at Rio Grande High School but he died in a crash last week along I-40. When his family went Monday to set up a memorial, they were devastated by what they found.


Story continues below:


Bilga Esparza is mourning the loss of her firstborn. Sanchez died in a car accident on August 8. New Mexico State Police said the crash involved a semi and SUV on I-40 east of Laguna. Esparza and the family went to the crash site Monday to put up a cross for Sanchez and discovered the unimaginable. “We found his hand,” Sanchez’s aunt, Joanna Cheno, said.

They said they found and brought home Sanchez’s right hand. “There was pieces of his skin still on the floor at the accident site,” Cheno said. “We didn’t bring it because it was full of ants.”

In a Facebook Live posted by the family Monday, there were things at the site of the crash more than a week later. They ended up leaving with a whole bag of Sanchez’s belongings including a hat, boots, car key, pieces of his phone and vehicle. During the interview, they made another gruesome discovery. “We didn’t know the nose was here,” Cheno said. “We didn’t know that until right now.”

The family is demanding answers from NMSP who the family said did not call them back until KRQE News 13 got involved. The family said an officer came by Monday evening. According to the family, the officer asked them how they knew there wasn’t a second victim. “They don’t care,” Cheno said. “They don’t care about any citizen of New Mexico because if they cared enough, they would not leave his body behind.”

Sanchez’s cousins, grandparents and aunts gathered by his mom’s side Monday with a bible in hand. The family also found identifying paperwork at the scene which made them question why it took several days to learn of the crash. They said Sanchez was traveling to Arizona when it happened, and they filed a missing persons report that day after not hearing from him. They called local law enforcement agencies repeatedly until finally getting an answer four days later.

NMSP said there was a delay in the death notification due to the condition of the body, and the SUV wasn’t registered in Sanchez’s name. The family said Sanchez was traveling to Arizona at the time of the crash, and they filed a missing person report for Sanchez that day after not hearing from him. NMSP said they turned the hand over to OMI for positive identification after the family contacted them on Monday.

On Wednesday, NMSP provided the following update:

A life was tragically lost at this horrific crash site. When arriving on a scene such as this, New Mexico State Police take every possible life-saving measure for all present, alert other emergency and/or related services and investigate the crash (as dictated by jurisdiction).  

When an officer finishes his or her on-scene investigation, remains of the deceased are turned over to the Office of Medical Investigator (OMI).

Per New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Motor Transportation Rule, a tow-service is responsible for removal of inoperable motor vehicles and their contents.

The OMI has not yet positively identified the body part.  NMSP is assisting OMI as needed.

Public Information Officer Dusty Francisco, NMSP

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Video

Now Trending on KRQE.com

New Mexico Hourly Forecasts ⟶

Albuquerque Hourly Forecast

Don't Miss

MORE IN DON'T MISS

Photo Galleries

MORE PHOTO GALLERIES

News Resources - Maps

MORE NEWS RESOURCES