Body of missing veteran found in Valencia County

New Mexico

VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The body of a Belen veteran, missing for weeks, has been found in Valencia County. Tonight, the sheriff’s office says a Los Lunas man will be charged with Matthew Gurule’s murder.

“It’s crazy that my son can proudly fight for his county in two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and come home to his father’s hometown and get murdered,” says Sandra Miller.

For the last three weeks, Sandra Miller has been searching Valencia County for her son, Matthew Gurule, who went missing last month.

“The last known location for Mr. Gurule was at the Isleta Casino,” says Sheriff Denise Vigil.

The next morning, the vehicle was found burned in the mesa of Rio Communities. Finally, last night, Valencia County Sheriff’s detectives found his body.

“Yesterday, the investigation led detectives to an area of a ditch bank located south of Belen on Hwy 304,” says Sheriff Vigil.

Just last week, Belen Police arrested Francisco Gomez and his girlfriend, Jeannine Willard, after they were seen on security video using Gurule’s credit card at multiple businesses in Belen.

They were charged with transferring a stolen credit card at the time, until now. Sheriff Vigil believes Gomez is responsible for Gurule’s death.

“Who will be charged with an open count of murder as well as multiple other felonies,” she says.

Miller, still wearing the jewelry her son gave her, says she and her family can now finally have peace, but it doesn’t come without pain.

“You’re in heaven now. You’re free from any pain that you ever had. Fly with the angels, son,” she says.

The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office would not say what led them to the body or how Gurule died. They do say other people may also be charged in this case.

A funeral for Gurule will be held next weekend.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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