Here’s a look back at major news stories that happened throughout New Mexico in 2018.
Eleven children found at a northern New Mexico compound
In August, authorities raided a compound near Amalia in Taos County. Eleven malnourished children were found. This all started when a man from Georgia was accused of abducting his toddler son.
After authorities searched the compound, the remains of the missing toddler were found.
- Prosecutors fighting to keep terrorism claims in Amalia case documents
- Attorneys argue to remove terrorism claims from Amalia compound case documents
- DA holds off on refiling charges against Amalia compound suspects
- Federal judge rules to keep five Amalia compound suspects locked up
- Amalia compound suspects expected in court after grand jury indictment
- Five suspects in Amalia Compound case arrested on federal gun charges
Two fatal bus crashes took place in New Mexico
One happened in July, that left three people dead and hospitalized 24. The crash happened along I-25 north of Bernalillo after a car rear-ended a pickup truck.
The second happened in August, where eight people died. Police say a blowout tire caused a truck driver to swerve across I-40 and hit a Greyhound bus head-on.
- Bus crash on I-25 north of Bernalillo leaves 3 dead, 24 hospitalized
- 8 killed in bus crash involving semi on I-40 near Thoreau
Woman killed in Southwest Airlines jetliner explosion was from Albuquerque
Jennifer Riordan was a prominent community member who many remember locally as the head of community relations for Wells Fargo in New Mexico, where she oversaw volunteer and charitable programs for the last decade.
Riordan was critically injured on board a Southwest Airlines flights from New York to Dallas. 149 people were on board the flight that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
The airline says the plane’s left engine exploded in mid-flight. The force was enough to break a window and send shrapnel into the aircraft.
- Pilot during Southwest Airlines explosion has local ties
- New Mexico classmates commend pilot for landing plane after explosion
- Deming, New Mexico serviceman was a passenger on Southwest Airlines flight
- A retired registered school nurse says she performed CPR on woman in Southwest Airlines plane
- Memorial service held for Albuquerque woman killed in Southwest flight
- Jennifer Riordan Full Memorial Service
- 1 passenger dead, 7 injured after Southwest plane apparently blows an engine mid-air
Justin Hansen sentenced to 18 years for 2008 shovel beating case
Justin Hansen was sentenced to the maximum, 18 years for beating then Cibola High school student Brittani Marcell with a shovel in her home back in 2008.
Brittani Marcell’s family and Justin Hansen’s former friends took turns to try and convince the judge to give him the max.
- Brittani Marcell reacts to attacker’s sentence: ‘Justice has been served’
- Video shows how hypnosis, DNA cracked the Brittani Marcell case
- Man accused in shovel beating case changes plea to ‘no contest’
- Justin Hansen sentenced to 18 years for 2008 shovel beating case
Victoria Martens mother takes plea deal; unidentified 4th suspect still at large
Victoria Martens mother, Michelle, took a plea deal resulting in most of the charges against her being dropped.
Fabian Gonzales, was also charged with murdering Victoria in August 2016. However, in June 2018 District Attorney Raul Torrez revealed that another man, who is still out there, could be involved in Victoria’s murder.
The charges were changed and now Gonzales is facing a child abuse resulting in death charge. He is awaiting trial.
Jessica Kelley, another suspect in the chase is charged with child abuse resulting in death. Kelley’s trial is set to begin next month.
- Judge: Trial for Victoria Martens murder suspect to remain in Albuquerque
- Prosecutors request judge rule on Jessica Kelley motion
- Attorneys ask to seal jury questionnaire in Victoria Martens case
- State requests testimony to show Fabian Gonzales’ gang connections
- Judge denies Jessica Kelley’s plea deal for second time
- Judge rejects plea deal for suspect in Victoria Martens murder case
- Prosecutors in Victoria Martens’ case argue that jury should see lapel video
- DA dismisses 2 child abuse charges against Jessica Kelley
- DA’s office asks for $600K to try suspects in Victoria Marterns case
- CYFD releases review of Victoria Martens’ case
3 people were arrested for torture, death of a 13-year-old boy
Jeremiah Valencia was found in a shallow grave along a highway outside of Nambe in January. Santa Fe County Deputies said the 13-year-old boy spent his final days living in a dog kennel after suffering years of abuse.
His mother, Tracy Pena, her boyfriend, Thomas Ferguson, and his son, Jordan Nunez, were all arrested.
Pena took a plea deal and will spend 12 years in prison. A big part of the plea deal is Pena will have to testify against accused killer, Jordan Nunez. Thomas Ferguson who was also accused of killing the teen, killed himself in prison.
- New gruesome details emerge in death of 13-year-old Nambe boy
- Documents details abuse of murdered 13-year-old boy
- Grand jury indicts New Mexico man in 13-year-old boy’s death
- Documents: 13-year-old was beaten with brass knuckles, hammer
University of New Mexico cut four sports programs
The University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents approved the recommendation to cut four sports. The four teams sports programs that were cut were men’s soccer, men’s and women’s skiing and beach volleyball.
- UNM last cut sports in 1999, axing three men’s teams
- UNM men’s soccer coach, players react after team gets cut
- Audit reveals Title IX issues within UNM Athletics amid possible cuts to sports
- UNM plans to cut 4 teams including beach volleyball, men’s soccer
- UNM Regents unanimously approve recommendation to cut four sports
- UNM Athletics expected to cut teams to help pay back $4.7M debt
- Questions looming over UNM sports cuts
Albuquerque to become Netflix new production hub
Netflix announced it’s setting up its own production studios in Albuquerque. The streaming company said they will be taking over Albuquerque Studios.
New Mexico wildfires
One of the biggest wildfires that erupted this year was the Ute Park Fire. The fire grew to an estimated 36,740 acres and caused all residents in the nearby area to evacuate.
Fugitive priest Arthur Perrault arrested, extradited to New Mexico
Former Albuquerque priest Arthur J. Perrault, who fled the U.S. in the 1990s after being accused of sexually abusing children, was been caught and extradited back to New Mexico.
- NM fugitive priest Arthur Perrault in custody, facing child sex abuse charges
- Federal judge orders accused pedophile priest to remain in jail
Brian Urlacher inducted into the Hall of Fame
New Mexico’s own Brian Urlacher is now officially an NFL legend. Urlacher is a Lovington High School graduate and Lobo Football alum.
- Brian Urlacher becomes one of New Mexico’s most famous athletes
- Brian Urlacher drafted to Chicago Bears
- Former New Mexico standout reaches Hall of Fame status
- Texas Tech’s loss becomes win for UNM
- Brian Urlacher: Road to Canton Coverage