ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A brave woman, who said she was brutally attacked nearly a year ago, wanted to share her story. Her alleged attacker is out of jail, and she’s looking for answers.
What happened to Briana Chavez less than a year ago, is still haunting her. KRQE News 13 never identifies potential rape victims, but in this case, Chavez said she wants to speak out, and said she’s tired of hiding. She hopes her story can help save a life.
“I remember looking at his face and then, everything went blank,” Chavez recalled.
The 25-year-old is tortured by what doctors say happened to her last May. She reconnected with a high school friend on Facebook, Joseph Apodaca.
Chavez was in New Mexico visiting family, and agreed to meet Apodaca at a downtown nightclub.
“When I started to regain conscious, I saw my mom and dad,” Chavez recalled. She woke up in the hospital in Albuquerque.
Doctors said Chavez was violently raped, nearly died, and needed emergency surgery. Rape victims are rarely identified, but Chavez said she wants to tell her story.
The District Attorney’s office has dropped the charges against her alleged rapist for now.
“This isn’t right,” said Chavez. “How are other survivors or other victims going to have hope for justice to be served when it’s taking this long for mine you know?”
Investigators learned Apodaca and another man drove her to a dirt lot in Belen. According to a criminal complaint, Apodaca’s cousin told police they called Chavez’s dad from her cell phone, told him where to find his daughter, then left her in her car, bleeding and unconscious.
“What I found was something no father ever wants to find,” recalled Darrick Chavez, Briana’s dad.
He found his daughter unconscious, alone in the passenger seat of her own car. He immediately called 911.
“I knew she was alive because I could see her stomach move, but she was just totally totally unconscious like – like she’d been drugged,” said Darrick.
He said the phone call that woke him up in the middle of the night, plays over and over in his head. “I could hear someone in the background, ‘just dump her here man, just dump her here,'” he saie. “It comes back to me every day.”
Darrick Chavez said the man on the other line told him he too had a daughter, and wouldn’t want to see his own daughter in that condition.
“It was pretty brutal,” Briana’s dad said. He wants to know why this happened. “It’s something that a parent does not ever have to deal with or imagine, or to have to see.”
Chavez has physical and emotional scars. She’s worried there could be other victims, and has a message.
“You don’t have to stay hiding, you don’t have to stay quiet,” Chavez said. “You won the battle, you know, I won the battle, and justice will be served.”
KRQE News 13 called the District Attorney’s office to see why the charges were dropped. A spokesperson told KRQE News 13 they can’t discuss details of the case, but that they’re still collecting evidence and charges can be re-filed.
Chavez said she has so many questions, about why this happened and who was involved. She said her family’s support and four-year-old son keep her positive. “I think being positive shows everybody that you won the battle and other people can do the same,” she said.
Chavez said her medical bills were around $20,000. She hopes to start an organization to help other rape victims.