More than a year after the business of Bosque Farms Mayor Roger Baldwin was severely damaged by fire, state police are continuing their arson investigation into who set the fire — and why.
New Mexico State Police officers served a search warrant at the Value Rite Manufacturing building on Bosque Farms Boulevard Wednesday night to collect potential evidence. State Police Lieutenant Robert Shilling said investigators were looking for documents related to the business and fire.
“We’ve been actively investigating this case since it happened,” Shilling said. “The search warrant was for financial documents and tax records.”
Details of the search warrant weren’t available because the document was sealed in the court clerk’s office.
Although Shilling couldn’t comment on why another search warrant was executed 17 months after the fire, he did say investigators are currently evaluating and inspecting the evidence they found Wednesday night. He also said there have been no arrests made in the case and no suspects have been named.
“A lot of these cases take a long time to investigate,” Shilling said. “Evidence needs to be tested in different laboratories, and there are so many other reasons why a case may drag on.”
Baldwin said in a telephone interview Friday that he didn’t really know what the police were searching for in his building and added, “I honestly don’t know anything. All I know is that it’s part of the on-going investigation.”
The fire, which occurred in February 2001, destroyed millions of dollars worth of equipment inside the building. After the fire, Baldwin was forced to lay off his employees and close his business.
A month prior to the fire at the business, Baldwin’s garage was also destroyed by flames.
Days after the fire severely damaged his business, Baldwin said he had thought about resigning his position as mayor but decided against it after the community rallied around him.
“The only reason why I’m still here is because of the support I’ve had from the people,” Baldwin said two days after the fire.
In the months following the fire, Baldwin reported numerous anonymous threats on his life and several instances in which his exotic birds and animals have been killed.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.