Two local law enforcement agencies are investigating three recent deaths.
Los Lunas Police Department
On Sunday, Aug. 7, Los Lunas Police Department officers recovered the body of a man from the San Fernandez Lateral, south of Century High School on Sun Valley Road.
The man is still unidentified, LLPD Sgt. Nikki DeAnda said, and the department is working with local agencies to identify him.
“There was no ID on him. We suspect he might have been there two or three days,” DeAnda said.
The sergeant said while the man did have tattoos, due to decomposition they won’t be helpful in determining his identity. The Office of the Medical Investigator was able to take fingerprints from the man, but no records were found.
“Detectives are working this case diligently, looking at all missing persons in the metro area in the last 30, 60, 90 days,” she said. “We are following up on a lead on his identify we received Monday. As soon as we have a positive ID, we can notify his family.”
DeAnda said the death will be treated as a homicide until investigators know otherwise.
“There didn’t appear to be any apparent injuries, such as entry or exit wounds, punctures or defensive wounds. Nothing stood out as apparent injuries,” DeAnda said. “The body is with the Office of the Medical Investigator, which will ultimately determine the manner and cause of death.”
It could take OMI two to three months or longer to make an official finding on manner and cause of death. LLPD Detective Jeremy Shaw is the lead investigator on the case. Anyone with information they feel is relevant to the case should call the department’s main number, 505-865-9130, and ask for Shaw.
The shooting death of a man behind Albertsons Market in late July is still under investigation, DeAnda said.
Officers were called out for a report of multiple shots fired on the south side of Valencia Plaza at 2351 Main St. NE, behind the shopping center near Albertsons and Dollar Tree. They found a man, who has been identified as David Lopez, 21, of Los Lunas, with multiple gunshot wounds.
Lopez was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital but died from his injuries on July 29.
There have been no arrests made or charges filed in relation to Lopez’ death, but DeAnda said there are multiple suspects being pursued.
“The detectives have been working tirelessly to follow up on leads and evidence. This case is a high priority for us,” she said.
Sgt. DeAnda is the case agent for the Lopez homicide and can be reached at the department’s main number, 505-865-9130.
Valencia County Sheriff’s Office
A man found dead in an RV in Meadow Lake in late July has been identified.
Stephen Benevides Jr., 46, of Los Lunas, was found on July 27 on a property on Comanche Lane. Valencia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Joseph Rowland said OMI has not yet sent their findings to VCSO in regards to the cause or manner of the man’s death.
“We treat all deaths as if they were homicides until proven otherwise,” Rowland said. “That being said, this is considered a suspicious death at this time.”
The property owner where the RV was found called 911 due to what he thought was a burglary. There were broken windows on the house and the recreation vehicle didn’t belong on the property.
When deputies arrived, they found the house was empty and the RV where they found Benevides was unlocked.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.