DA: No evidence to show woman was drugged at Taos Inn

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 8/1/19

The Taos District Attorney’s Office this month determined that a Taos Police investigation into whether a woman was drugged and possibly raped at the Taos Inn on May 16 turned up no evidence to …

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DA: No evidence to show woman was drugged at Taos Inn

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The Taos District Attorney’s Office this month determined that a Taos Police investigation into whether a woman was drugged and possibly raped at the Taos Inn on May 16 turned up no evidence to support charges against an unidentified suspect.

The alleged victim in the investigation reported the incident to Taos Central Dispatch on May 22. According to a dispatch log, the woman said she felt “like she was drugged” after she had spent the night drinking at the inn, but said the symptoms she experienced – combined with other factors – told her it was no typical hangover.

Days after the incident, she said she was still not feeling well. The morning of May 17, she could not recall who she had been with the previous evening, or any other details going back to 1 p.m. on May 16. She also said her jaw was sore and had found a necklace in her purse that had strands of hair on it, leading her to believe that it might have been ripped off her neck at some point during the night.

Taos Police Chief David Trujillo indicated on May 24 that his investigators were looking into the woman’s report, but he noted that failing to immediately report any alleged sexual assault can make it difficult to discover physical evidence of such crimes that can be crucial to a case.

“Even though she reported it days after the alleged incident and evidence that could have been used is gone, we are still following up,” Trujillo said.

By June 13, Trujillo said his investigators had identified an “alleged perpetrator” in the case and would be interviewing the suspect that week. The suspect's identity was never publicly released.

“He’s been hard to contact, but we finally found him,” Trujllo said. “Once he is interviewed, this case will go to investigations for review. If everything is covered upon review, it will then be forwarded to the DA’s Office for further review and possible filing of charges if they think there is enough probable cause.”

But after looking into the police investigation, Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Olsen determined there was no evidence to show the suspect had committed any crime.

“A thorough investigation conducted by the Taos Police Department revealed no evidence to support that a crime occurred on the evening of May 16, 2019 or early morning hours of May 17, 2019,” Olsen wrote in a press release.

He said the investigation ultimately determined that the woman changed her story to indicate that she “did not feel as if she had sex.”

It also indicated that a medical examination to look for signs that she had been sexually assaulted “revealed no swelling, markings, bruises, discolorations or lacerations anywhere on her body.”

Joe Kendall, manager at the Inn, sent the following prepared statement on Aug. 9 regarding the allegations:

"The Historic Taos Inn and its team are passionate about providing Taos and its visitors a place to gather and make fond memories in a warm and relaxed surrounding. We were saddened and alarmed to later hear of the customer's belief as to what had transpired during her visit. We absolutely wanted the matter to be investigated thoroughly and fully cooperated with the police which ultimately led to no evidence of crime. The safety and security of our customer is very important to us. We are committed to nurturing an environment to support that. We also encourage everyone to be vigilant against crimes in our community."

sexual assault

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