New Mexico grandmother goes missing, then her house burns down

The family of Rita Denise Jaramillo says no one has seen or heard from her since last Thursday night. Then, early Sunday morning, her home in Valencia County burned down. 

“We think someone did hurt her,” said Jaramillo’s oldest daughter, Leslie Fay. 

Fay says her 49-year-old mother was supposed to come over to her house last Friday morning to get her grandson ready for school, but Jaramillo never showed up.

At first, Fay thought Jaramillo just got called into work and didn’t think much of it. But then, days passed and she still hadn’t heard from her. 

Then early Sunday morning Fay got a call from a family member. 

“[She was saying] that the house was on fire. We came over here and tried calling [Jaramillo] her and her phone went straight to voicemail,” said Fay. 

Jaramillo was nowhere to be found. Her home in El Cerro Mission was gutted by the fire that her family believes was set intentionally. 

“The only thing I can think of is to get rid of evidence,” said Fay

Fay says firefighters also found an accelerant inside Jaramillo’s home. 

“They found a couple of tires – one in her living room and one in her bedroom. My mom did not keep tires in her house. So, what I’ve heard is tires burn hot and long so that’s probably what they used to keep the fire going,” said Fay. 

Fay tells KRQE News 13 neighbors also reported hearing a gunshot on the night her mom went missing. They also reported hearing an argument. 

“Where is she? Why isn’t she here? It’s been Friday, Saturday, Sunday and now it’s Monday,” said Gabrielle Anchondo, Jaramillo’s niece. 

The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this case. They say it is too early to say if ‘foul play’ is involved. 

If you have any information about Jaramillo, call VCSO at (505) 866-2400.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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