LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A year and a half after 16-year-old Adelina Tafoya was killed near Storrie Lake her family continues fighting for justice. The suspects in her murder; Nico Barela and Roger Tait-Gomez still await trial.
After delays and cancellations due to COVID-19 and a judge removing himself from the case because he represented Barela in a different case, have all caused the delays. The victim’s family is left frustrated as they reel from their loss. So many questions and few answers still plague the family.
“I need answers, I need justice and I just want the courts to see that this isn’t just another case. This is a big case, it doesn’t only contain my family it contains four other victims’ families,” said Adelina’s sister, Briana Saiz.
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In July of 2020, Adelina Tafoya was driving near Storrie Lake, north of Las Vegas, with five other teens inside the vehicle. Police say the suspects, Barela and Tait-Gomez thought the vehicle had robbed a friend of theirs and followed them for several miles.
Police say Barela and Tait-Gomez got out of their car and shot at Tafoya’s vehicle, killing her and injuring two others. “Something needs to be done because my family is still grieving and will forever be grieving,” said Saiz.
Both suspects were arrested, charged with first-degree murder, and are awaiting trial but the family still wonders why the teens were targets in the first place. “Right now, basically they’re still saying it’s a wrong place, wrong time type of situation, which me and my family are not buying,” said Saiz.
Now, after nearly two years of waiting, the suspects still haven’t been tried. Barela has an extensive criminal record going all the way to 2008. He served four years in prison for driving recklessly and killing a person in 2008. Tait-Gomez has had two more charges since his murder arrest including trying to smuggle drugs into the jail. Saiz says she will never stop fighting for her sister.
“It will never be done until the day I die because I am going to fight and fight and fight for my sister because she deserves that. She didn’t deserve to die that way,” said Saiz.
Tafoya’s family says they won’t be able to receive closure until after the trial occurs. They want to see both suspects spend at least 40 years behind bars.
Tait-Gomez’s trial is slated for April of 2022. Barela has had his trial delayed after the judge in the case removed himself because he represented Barela in a different case. Barela served four years in prison for a 2008 crash that killed a person.