New Mexico State Police confirmed on Thursday that the man shot outside a home that burned in Angel Fire on May 5 was the home's owner, George Herrera, and said the remains of his wife, Diane …
Updated May 23 at 4 p.m.
New Mexico State Police confirmed Thursday (May 16) that the man shot outside a burning home near Angel Fire on May 5 was the homeowner, George Herrera, and that the remains of Herrera’s wife, Diane Herrera, were recovered from inside the burning residence. Both were 61 years old.
“OMI [Office of the Medical Investigator] is still determining the cause and manner of Mrs. Herrera’s death,” said Ray Wilson, a public information officer with state police.
The cause of the fire that reduced their home to a pile of ash and rubble also remains under investigation with the New Mexico State Fire Marshall’s Office.
Diane Herrera had worked for 19 years as an assistant branch manager and lender at International Bank in central Angel Fire, according to Aimee Miller, a spokesperson for the bank.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and associate, Diane Herrera,” reads a prepared statement sent by the corporation this week. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Diane’s family as they go through this difficult time.”
After her death was confirmed by police, Facebook users commented on community message boards to express condolences for Herrera and her family.
Reviews of online records have turned up little information on George Herrera. Court records show he was charged with a misdemeanor DWI in 1990 in Mora Magistrate Court. He pleaded guilty to the charge. The case filing indicates he was living in Santa Fe at the time.
The home where the couple lived, which was located at 14 Mountain Lake Terrace in a wooded community near Monte Verde Lake, erupted in flames at 2:45 a.m. May 5.
The report of the fire drew a response from fire departments in Angel Fire, Moreno Valley and Eagle Nest.
Audio files The Taos News acquired from Red River Dispatch indicated that the unidentified caller who reported the fire had seen a man moving around the home as it burned.
The files also indicated that George Herrera's vehicle was one of three vehicles first responders found parked near the home the morning of the fire, but it wasn't clear who the other two vehicles belonged to.
Shortly after firefighters reported that the fire was under control, the Angel Fire Police Officer at the scene fired the shot that killed Herrera.
According to the investigation, Herrera was armed with a knife, but state police have not indicated whether Herrera attempted to attack the officer during the exchange.
This is a developing story.
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