NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A major turn of events in the investigation of an alleged kidnapping and carjacking that ended in a deadly crash, killing a Santa Fe police officer and a retired Las Vegas firefighter. The alleged victim is now behind bars, accused of lying to police about what happened.
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New Mexico State Police say 46-year-old Jeannine Jaramillo has been arrested in connection to the Wednesday crash on I-25 in Santa Fe. Jaramillo is facing two counts of first-degree murder and several charges including aggravated fleeing, tampering with evidence, and receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle.
After the crash, police said Jaramillo claimed she was carjacked and kidnapped Wednesday afternoon. However, investigators say her story didn’t add up. They say she was the only driver in the car police were chasing in Wednesday’s pursuit.
According to police, the car chase started after Jaramillo told a person at the Vizcaya Apartments she had been kidnapped. Police say that person then reported that to the police.
New Mexico State Police say its investigation has now determined there was never a kidnapping or a male suspect involved in the case. Jaramillo was arrested Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque. She’s since been booked in the Santa Fe County Detention Center.
At a news conference Saturday evening, New Mexico State Police Deputy Chief Carolyn Huynh said, “She caused a senseless tragedy that has impacted the community of Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and all of New Mexico, and the pain her actions have caused will not be alleviated by this arrest alone. There will be lasting consequences.”
According to the Santa Fe District Attorney, prosecutors are expected to file a motion Monday, requesting Jaramillo be kept behind bars before a future trial. Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies addressed the case Saturday evening.
“Through this horrific chain of events, we have seen the danger and damage that Ms. Jaramillo is capable of if she is to remain out in public,” Carmack-Altwies said.
New Mexico State Police confirmed Saturday this isn’t the first time Jaramillo has been accused in a similar case. Court records show she has a criminal history dating back to 2005.
A criminal complaint shows Jaramillo was charged on September 8, 2021, with receiving and transferring a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing, and possession of methamphetamine. Police say her statement in that incident is suspiciously similar to the Santa Fe crash, stating a male subject was holding her against her will with a knife.
Police are still questioning Jaramillo on what her motive was in telling the person at the apartment complex about a kidnapping.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story said Jaramillo told a neighbor she had been kidnapped. This has been changed to say “she told a person at the Vizcaya Apartments.”