Albuquerque woman who sued city to stay in home found murdered

Crime

LOS LUNAS/ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman who fought a major legal battle with the city of Albuquerque has been found murdered.

The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office says 54-year-old Mary Kay Brizzee’s body was found two weeks ago in a remote area west of Los Lunas. The department identified Brizzee Thursday through missing persons reports and dental records.

KRQE News 13 profiled Brizzee in December 2018 as she was living in her home near Central and Eubank for roughly five months without electricity, running water or gas. “I want stability and by having my home, I feel safe,” said Brizzee in a December 2018 interview with KRQE News 13.

At the time, the city was trying to evict Brizzee from her home. Brizzee eventually took the city to U.S. Federal Court, arguing it was her civil right to live in her home. “She told the city, ‘well, there’s homeless people out here now and you want to make another one,’” said Nathan Phillips, one of Brizze’s former neighbors.

Phillips, who lived next to Brizzee for around 20 years, told KRQE News 13 Thursday he remembers his former neighbor as a nice, friendly, trusting person.

“She trusted everybody,” said Phillips.

The circumstances surrounding Brizzee’s killing are still unclear, however, some neighbors suspect that it may have been related to money.

Neighbors say Brizzee gave up the legal battle over her home in April 2019, opting to trade in her now empty 20-year home for some cash. Court records show the case was dismissed after Brizzee, who was representing herself, failed to file a response in the case.

“That was her plan, was to get this (equity of) redemption money, go buy a car and leave town,” said Phillips, who said Brizzee wanted a fresh start.

Neighbors last saw Brizzee in late June. They filed a missing persons report when no one heard from her.

Valencia County Sheriff’s deputies found Brizzee’s body on July 2 along the remote AT&T Road, west of Los Lunas. Deputies haven’t said exactly how they believe Brizzee was killed.

“Well, I was sad for her,” said Phillips. “Obviously she ran into some people somewhere that weren’t as trusting, you know, and kind as she was.”

The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office says so far, no suspects have been arrested or even named in the case. Investigators say they are looking into several persons of interest.

If you have any information, contact the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office at 505-866-2400.

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