Rare murder investigation rattles Taos Pueblo

Call log adds details

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 6/6/19

Four days after two people were found dead of an apparent double homicide at a Taos Pueblo residence on Saturday (June 1), investigators with the FBI have released …

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Rare murder investigation rattles Taos Pueblo

Call log adds details

Posted

Four days after two people were found dead of an apparent double homicide at a Taos Pueblo residence on Saturday (June 1), investigators with the FBI have released only a trickle of information.

Neither the FBI nor Taos Pueblo officials had publicly identified the victims as of Wednesday afternoon (June 5). No suspects have been named either.

Meanwhile, a Taos Central Dispatch call log obtained by The Taos News this week shed some light on what happened Saturday.

The log indicates that a call for a welfare check was made to a dispatcher just before 3 p.m. on Saturday. The caller said they wanted officers to go to a residence located in the 1000 block of Goat Springs Road, a short east-west roadway intersecting the main road to Taos Pueblo.

Officers from the Taos Pueblo Department of Public Safety arrived outside the home, but became concerned when they received no response from inside.

"We will be making forceful entry into this residence," the log indicates an officer reported to a dispatcher.

The remainder of the log notes are brief. They do not indicate what the officers found inside, but time stamps show that they were at the residence for hours, and didn't complete the call until around 11 p.m. that night.

Information from the FBI confirms that they found two people dead at the residence.

According to FBI Public Affairs Officer Frank Fisher, an arrest has not been made in connection to the alleged slayings. The victims' causes of death are also still pending an autopsy. Fisher said that other explanations for how they might have died have not been ruled out. He said the federal agency doesn't "typically" release the names of murder victims.

Tribal government officials have also declined to comment on the crime. Tribal members contacted by The Taos News have also hesitated to share what they know, citing respect for the victims' family members and a tribal policy that tends to keep most matters that happen on pueblo land from the public that lives outside its boundaries.

Crimes that happen within pueblo boundaries can be tricky to investigate.

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, most tribal land is considered "reserved federal land," broadly falling under the same category as land reserved for military and public uses. While tribes maintain sovereignty over their lands, the FBI "is responsible for investigating the most serious crimes in Indian Country," according to the agency's website.

The FBI cites murder, physical and sexual abuse of children, violent felony assault and rape as the most common crimes agents investigate on tribal land throughout the United States. Other types of crimes are handled by tribal police and tribal courts.

Fisher said that murders on Taos Pueblo are rare.

After conferring with other agents on Tuesday (June 4), the only other murder he could recall in recent history was the 2013 killing of tribal member Nicholas "Sul" Concha outside the Allsup's gas station located at the southern entrance to the pueblo.

Fisher said more information will be released as the investigation progresses.

Tips can be submitted to the FBI at (505) 889-1300 or at tips.fbi.gov.

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