Eli Crowe, a 47-year-old Montezuma man wanted on two counts of aggravated battery for the alleged Aug. 26 beating of two Pueblo women at Llano Hot Springs, recently reached out to local authorities and The Taos News with details about what, according to him, "really happened."
"I am willing to take a lie detector test to back it up," he opened. "I also have the photos. I cannot just wait to be railroaded just because these two women got to police first."
According to Crowe, he had planned to make his way to Taos the week of Aug. 20 to participate as a vendor at the Trash and Treasure Flea Market at KTAOS Solar Radio Center in El Prado. He said it would be his fifth time selling at the event.
After working security at a "private" music venue in Santa Fe the night before, he said he loaded up his van – a white 2006 Ford consistent with a vehicle description included in an affidavit for his arrest. He headed to Taos.
He planned to sleep in his vehicle in the Miranda Canyon area near tribal land, where he said he had camped the prior weekend "without incident."
When he arrived, he got settled and tried to go to sleep around 9 p.m., he said, when he heard another vehicle pull into the area. Loud music then began playing, he said. "Two female voices proceeded to howl and scream for some time ... They seemed to be intoxicated and appeared to be shouting at my van, things like, '[You're] on Indian land now,' " he said, " 'your not in the forest anymore. What the [expletive] are doing here!' This is our land, what gives you the right to park here!' "
Crowe writes that he could hear a dog barking, which he suspected belonged to the women. "I also heard movement around my van," he wrote, "and realized the next day that it was probably the dog moving around my van."
He said that he became "scared," and suspected that he was "being targeted" by the women. After about 30-40 minutes, Crowe said he heard a voice say, "You in the van. I'm sorry, I'm not sorry." Then he heard the voices die down and the vehicle pull away.
He backed his vehicle down to a level area and tried to go back to sleep.
Crowe said he soon heard what sounded like the same vehicle and the same people – still "howling and screaming" – return to the area.
This time, he said the vehicle and voices were louder, causing him to suspect they had parked closer to his vehicle. He looked out one of his windows and saw that "they parked blocking me in," he wrote.
The voices and music would die down and then return at higher volumes, he said, when "all of a sudden I heard a loud bang which sounded like my windshield being broken," he wrote.
Crowe got dressed, grabbed a flashlight and exited his van.
He said he could see a dog in the light from his flashlight. It approached him, but didn't attack him. He then saw two women – "a short woman, heavy set, with black hair, next to the car," he wrote. "I also saw another woman with longer hair and heavy set as well about 20 feet to the right of the car ..."
Crowe said he yelled at them that he was "just trying to sleep" and demanded to know why they were harassing him. He said they responded, "What gives you the right to park here, this is Indian [land], [you're] not [expletive] welcome here!"
Crowe told them that he was going to "call the cops."
As he attempted to dial 911 on his phone, he said that one of the women starting attacking and throwing rocks at him. He said the rocks didn't hit him, but that the woman then picked up "a much larger rock about the size of a football" and prepared to hurl it in his direction. Crowe said he yelled at her, "Don't do it," but the woman threw the rock at him anyway, he said, missing his head "by inches."
He writes that the woman then tried to punch him. "I struck out with the flashlight that was in my right hand ..." he said, adding that he couldn't tell where he might have hit her, but that she then "backed off."
The second woman then came at him and began attacking him, Crowe writes. He again "struck out" with the flashlight, but again notes that he wasn't sure if he hit her either.
Crowe said the first woman then shouted, "Someone help us, white boy beating up Indian woman ..." He said they then climbed back into their vehicle, and the second woman shouted, "[We're] going to get the guns and the men ... [you're] [expletive] dead white boy."
Crowe said he subsequently fled the area. He later contacted an attorney and submitted a report to New Mexico State Police. An officer told him that they were uncertain if the area of the event was on tribal or county land and recommended that Crowe attempt to pinpoint the exact location to help determine jurisdiction.
Crowe said he found the coordinates of the event, and claims that it did not occur on tribal land.
The women involved in the event were transported to Holy Cross Hospital to be treated for injuries, which they claimed were sustained at the hands of Crowe – one with lacerations to the face and the other with a bruised and swollen eye. They told law enforcement a story of unprovoked victimization, while Crowe tells one different. He has submitted a request for charges to be filed against the women that include "attempted murder."
A Facebook user, whom Crowe believes to be the father of one of the women involved also contacted him. Crowe said the man wrote, "We got you sucker, hit my girls with a flashlight? You are toast." Crowe has filed a request that the man who wrote the message be charged with "threatening" his life.
Crowe reached out to the sheriff's office with the same account, but has yet to turn himself in, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe reported Tuesday (Sept. 12). Hogrefe did not comment as to any investigation into Crowe's claims, or whether they will hold any bearing on the current investigation based on the testimony of the two women involved.