FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Police say a Farmington man murdered his girlfriend and skipped town. Roberta Baier, 65, was found dead in her apartment in December during a welfare check.

On December 6, 2021, police responded to a residence on East 22nd Street after Baier’s friends reported not hearing from her in several days. After many attempts to contact the woman, police entered Baier’s apartment and found her dead.

Police say she had been beaten and strangled. Friends later told investigators that her boyfriend, 51-year-old Thomas Howard, was abusive. Police say they also found evidence in the apartment linking Howard to the crime.

He fled to Illinois. Howard was arrested by U.S. Marshals on an unrelated warrant on February 5, 2022, in Cicero, IL. Detectives with the Farmington police department went to Chicago to interview Howard. He is currently in custody in Cook County, IL, and will be booked for murder when he gets extradited back to New Mexico.