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West Mesa Homicide Investigation

West Mesa Serial Killer--$100,000 Reward

Criminal Investigations Division

On February 2, 2009, Christine Ross and her dog Ruca left their home on Albuquerque's west side to go for a walk. Ruca found a large bone protruding from the earthen trail.

Christine felt that the bone didn't look normal. She took a picture of it and then sent a text message to her sister, a registered nurse. A little while later, Christine's sister contacted her and told her that the bone resembled a human femur.

Christine immediately notified the Albuquerque Police Department and it was quickly determined that the bone was in fact human. During the ensuing weeks, detectives uncovered the skeletal remains of 11 women and one unborn child, all buried in makeshift graves.

Forensic investigators have now identified all 11 victims. Ten of the victims; Monica Candelaria, Victoria Chavez, Virginia Cloven, Syllannia Edwards, Cinnamon Elks, Doreen Marquez, Julie Nieto, Veronica Romero, Evelyn Salazar, and Michelle Valdez; all have a common link. They have ties to both drugs and prostitution. The eleventh victim, Jamie Barela, has no known involvement in these particular activities.

Four of the eleven victims were identified within the last three months.

Using a sketch and dental records, the Office of the Medical Investigator identified Syllannia Edwards on November 13, 2009.  Law enforcement authorities in Lawton, Oklahoma had classified her as an endangered runaway and reported her missing in 2003. In May of 2004, Edwards had been seen associating with prostitutes on East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, Colorado. She may have been staying at the Ranger Motel. Edwards was seen in the company of three other women: Lucretia, Ty and Diamond. She might have been using the nicknames "Mimi" or "Chocolate." Edwards was 15 years old when last seen.

Using DNA evidence, forensic experts at the University of North Texas identified the remains of Virginia Cloven and Evelyn Salazar on November 17, 2009.  Both women were reported missing in 2004 and are from the Albuquerque area.

The eleventh victim, 15 year old, Jamie Barela, was identified on January 26, 2010. She was last seen leaving a family gathering with her cousin, Evelyn Salazar, during the month of April 2004. Salazar had been identified as victim of the serial killer approximately two months earlier. Both young women were heading to a park near San Mateo and Gibson in southeast Albuquerque when they disappeared.

Detectives are currently looking for leads and would like to know more about the victims. Investigators would like to hear from women who may have been working the streets of Albuquerque between 2001 and 2005, or anyone who may have solicited the victims during that period of time.

For more about this case visit West Mesa Bone Collector at America's Most Wanted.

A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

Anyone with information concerning the victims and/or potential suspects is asked to contact the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273 or (505) 768-2450. Crime Stoppers can be called at (505) 843-STOP.

Victims


Victim: Jamie Barela

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Using DNA evidence, forensic experts were able to identify 15 year old Jamie Barela as one of the victims of the 118th  Street serial killer. She was last seen at a family gathering in April of 2004. Jamie and her cousin; Evelyn Salazar, who is also a victim, had left the gathering and went to a park near San Mateo and Gibson SE. They were never seen again. Barela was killed by an unknown person who then buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Monica Candelaria

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Sometime between 2003 and 2005 an unknown person killed 22 year old Monica Candelaria and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Victoria Chavez

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: In 2005 an unknown person killed 26 year old Victoria Chavez and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Virginia Cloven

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Using DNA evidence, forensic investigators were able to identify 24 year old Virginia Cloven as one of the victims of the 118th Street serial killer.  She was reported missing in 2004.  Investigators believe that she was killed sometime between 2004 and 2005 by an unknown person who then buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Syllannia Edwards

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Using a sketch and dental records, the Office of the Medical Investigator has identified one of the unknown victims of the 118th Street Serial Killer as Syllannia Edwards. Law enforcement authorities in Lawton, Oklahoma had classified her as an endangered runaway and reported her missing in 2003. In May of 2004, Edwards had been seen associating with prostitutes on East Colfax Avenue in Aurora Colorado. She may have been staying at the Ranger Motel. Edwards was seen in the company of three other women: Lucretia, Ty and Diamond. She might have been using the nicknames "Mimi" or "Chocolate." Edwards was 15 years old when last seen. Syllannia Edwards  was killed sometime between 2004 and 2005 and then buried in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Cinnamon Elks

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Sometime between 2004 and 2005 an unknown person killed 32 year old Cinnamon Elks and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Doreen Marquez

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Sometime between 2003 and 2005 an unknown person killed 24 year old Doreen Marquez and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Julie Nieto

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Sometime between 2004 and 2005 an unknown person killed 24 year old Julie Nieto and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Veronica Romero

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Sometime between 2004 and 2005 an unknown person killed  28 year old Veronica Romero and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in  Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Evelyn Salazar

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Using DNA evidence, forensic investigators were able to identify 27 year old Evelyn Salazar as one of the victims of the 118th  Street serial killer.  She was last seen at a family gathering in April of 2004. Evelyn and her cousin; Jamie Barela, who is also a victim, had left the gathering and went to a park near San Mateo and Gibson SE. They were never seen again. Salazar was killed by an unknown person who then buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]


Victim: Michelle Valdez

Suspect: Unknown

Location: 118th Street SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Synopsis: Sometime between 2004 and 2005 an unknown person killed 22 year old Michelle Valdez and buried her in a mesa located adjacent to 118th Street SW in  Albuquerque, New Mexico. Michelle was pregnant at the time of her death. The skeletal remains of her unborn child were found buried with her.

Please call the 118th Street Task Force at 1-877-765-8273, (505) 768-2450 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP with any information you may have concerning this crime. You may also email information to Detective Ida Lopez at [email protected]

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