Investigators say Marine’s deadly encounter with accused killer was random

New Mexico

VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – It looks like it was a random encounter that resulted in a Marine being murdered. Matthew Gurule’s mother searched for a month to find her missing son. His body has finally been found, and his accused killer faced a judge Monday.

There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love. Week after excruciating week, Sandra Miller searched the desert, looking for any sign of her missing son near where his car had been found burning.

“He loved to cook, he loved to sing, he loved to dance. He loved his country and his family,” said Sandra Miller.

After going missing last month, the body of her son, Matthew Gurule, was finally found this weekend outside Belen. The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office is now charging Francisco Gomez with his murder.

Deputies now say Gomez’s girlfriend, Jeannine Willard, told them while driving on a motorcycle in Belen, they passed Gurule in his car.

Willard told them Gomez said he was going to rob the car they’d passed. When he went up to Gurule, she said he told the man he was being robbed and to run but he wouldn’t.

She said Gomez then shot him at least six times, and he then put Gurule’s body in the trunk of his own car. Deputies say Willard drove the car while following Gomez on a motorcycle to the drainage ditch near the Rio Grande Stables, where they dumped his body.

“And at least right now, we know where he’s at,” Miller said.

Investigators are now saying the encounter between Gomez and Gurule was completely random.

“Matthew was apparently just minding his own business and came up and got robbed and shot and killed,” said Miller.

Gomez and his girlfriend were seen on surveillance using Gurule’s credit cards shortly after he was last seen at Isleta Casino.

“He needs to be held. He’s a dangerous man,” Miller said.

Miller says after a long journey, she’s hoping to find justice.

“I hope the system doesn’t fail my son,” she said.

Gomez is being held on a no-bond hold. Deputies are currently filing the murder charge, along with charges for robbery, arson and tampering with evidence.

Deputies say while in jail, a phone call between Gomez and his mother was intercepted. He was asking her if the motorcycle he’d been driving when the crime was committed had been removed from his property in Los Lunas.

On Monday, Gomez was also charged for a shooting from December. A man was shot in the jaw after it was suspected he was a police informant. It’s unclear what took so long for investigators to file those charges.

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