Cold Case Homicide Investigations

This web page has been created in an effort to obtain any information which would assist the New Mexico State Police in their investigations of unsolved homicides or missing persons cases. If you have information on any unsolved homicide you can contact Investigations Bureau Cold Case Homicide Unit at (505) 827-9066.

James Gossen Homicide – February 1989
CASE OVERVIEW

Mr. James Gossen had been reported as a missing person by his wife, Myra Redman (Gossen) in Albuquerque, NM, on or about July 13, 1988. Mr. Gossen’s disappearance was suspicious and Ms. Redman suspected foul play. His decomposed body was found on February 6, 1989, in a shallow grave off Camino La Tierra in Santa Fe, NM, by rabbit hunters. The cause of death listed on the death certificate was strangulation. To date, no suspects responsible for James Gossen’s murder have been identified. If you have any information on the murder or suspects you can contact the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau in Santa Fe, New Mexico at (505) 827-9066

Deputy Juan Ortiz Homicide September 1978ortiz
CASE OVERVIEW

Deputy Ortiz was shot and killed in retaliation for killing a suspect who pointed a gun at him three weeks earlier. Deputy Ortiz was on patrol in the Santa Fe National Forest when he encountered several suspects who were harassing campers. When one of the men pointed a rifle at him he opened fire, killing the suspect. Three weeks later Deputy Ortiz was working on his ranch when he was gunned down by a man with a rifle 200 yards away. The suspect fled and was never identified. Deputy Ortiz was due to resign from the department the following day.

Elizabeth Gonzalez Homicide December 2004
CASE OVERVIEW

On December 12, 2004, Investigators with the New Mexico State Police found a female shot to death at Tome Hill in Valencia County. The female was believed to be approximately twenty-eight year old female. The female was identified as Elizabeth Gonzalez. Ms. Gonzalez was last seen on December 11, 2004 in the Belen, New Mexico area in a dark SUV.

To date, no suspects responsible for Elizabeth Gonzalez’ murder have been identified. If you have any information on the murder or suspects you can contact the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau in Albuquerque, New Mexico at (505) 841-9271 or e-mail at nathan.lucero@state.nm.us.

McKnight Homicides November 1984
CASE OVERVIEW

Thomas “Cotton” McKnight and his wife Judy McKnight lived and worked on what was referred to as the “Upper McKnight Ranch” which is located in southeastern Lincoln County. They were found murdered in the kitchen of their ranch house on November 15, 1984. McKnight Homicides November 1984

They were last seen alive on November 13, 1984. It was determined that they died from gunshot wounds. There was no sign of forced entry to the residence and evidence at the scene supports that the McKnight’s either knew their assailant(s) and/or were comfortable with their being in the residence.

The case was initially investigated by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department with assistance from the New Mexico State Police. In December 1984, the New Mexico State Police terminated their assistance in the investigation, which was continued by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. In August 1985, the Twelfth Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Lincoln County convened an Investigative Grand Jury into the McKnight murders. The Grand Jury did not return any indictments and recommended that the investigation continue. In September 1985, The New Mexico Attorney General and the New Mexico State Police conducted a joint investigation into the McKnight murders.

As of this date, no viable suspect(s) have been identified in this case.

Tucumcari Homicide

This case has NOT been classified as a cold case. Currently the State Police are seeking any information regarding the identity of the suspects involved.On January 20, 2004, the State Police Criminal Investigations Section was called upon to investigate an apparent homicide in Tucumcari, NM. A local gift shop was robbed around closing time. Joan Vance, a mother of three children who began working at the Sundowner in August of 2003 was killed.

At this time it is believed the suspects were traveling through town. The main roads through Tucumcari are I-40 and U.S. 54. Only cash was taken, no other merchandise. No suspects have been identified at this time. If you have any information in regard to this investigation please contact New Mexico State Police Agent Josh Armijo at (575) 461-3300 or e-mail at Joshua.Armijo@state.nm.us.

A $20,000.00 reward for information leading to the identity of the suspects is being offered by the by the Quay County Crime Stoppers.

Yvonne Martinez Homicide

On October 11, 2003, the New Mexico State Police Criminal Investigations Section was called upon to investigate an apparent homicide just north of Espanola, New Mexico. A passerby riding his four-wheeler located a body of a deceased female who was partially unclothed and lying face up. The victim had been shot twice, and later identified as Yvonne Martinez.Yvonne Martinez’s last verified whereabouts was at the Okay Casino just North of Espanola New Mexico. Yvonne was last seen leaving the Casino through the south exit at approximately 1:50 a.m. Evidence at the scene revealed Yvonne Martinez had struggled with her assailant. No suspects have been identified at this time. If you have any information in regards to this investigation please contact New Mexico State Police Sgt. Chris Valdez at (505) 753-5631 or e-mail at Chris.Valdez@state.nm.us.

A $5000.00 dollar reward for information leading to the identity/capture of the suspects is being offered by the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation. Note- your name will remain anonymous.

Brian Edmonds HomicideBrian Edmonds Homicide

On July 29, 2001, at 2:40 a.m., State Police responded to a report of a man down in the south bound lanes of State Road 68, north of the town of Espanola. The subject, a John Doe was taken to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque, with major head trauma where he died later that day. The State Police Criminal Investigations Section was called upon to investigate. The deceased was identified as16-year-old Brian Edmonds.

Brian Edmonds was last seen at a neighbor’s birthday party, the night before he was found on the highway. According to several witness’s he was suffering from a small laceration on his head prior to his death. He left the party to walk to his home, which was a short distance away. He was found on the highway less than a mile from his residence.

The autopsy of Brian Edmonds could not determine how the injuries were received, either from a vehicle or from a blow, therefore the manner of death remains undetermined.

No suspects have been identified at this time. If you have any information please contact Sgt. Chris Valdez at (505) 753-5631 or e-mail at Chris.Valdez@state.nm.us.

Jean Sturges Homicide

On December 7, 1990, Mrs. Jean Sturges was found shot to death inside of her residence located at 510 Highland Street in Estancia, New Mexico. Mrs. Sturges was a sixty-one year old woman who lived with her husband, Charles “Bozo” Sturges at the time of the murder. Mrs. Sturges was also co-owner of the local supermarket, Sturges Market.Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact Lieutenant David C. Martinez at (505) 827-3431 or e-mail at david.martinez5@state.nm.us.

Janis Pulliam Homicide

Location where Janis' body was found.Janis Pulliam HomicideOn July 15, 1989, the body of Janis Pulliam was discovered floating in the northern portion of Elephant Butte Lake approximately two miles north of Rock House.Janis was last seen near noon on July 10, 1989. She said she was leaving town with a special friend for a few days. Janis’ vehicle, a white Mercedes, was discovered abandoned in the parking lot of the Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque on July 20, 1989.

To date, any suspects responsible for Janis’ murder have not been identified. If anyone has any information of the murder of Janis Pulliam, contact New Mexico State Police Criminal Investigations in Las Cruces, NM, Sgt. Felipe Gonzalez, at (575) 525-4850 or e-mail at Felipe.Gonzalez@state.nm.us.

Missing Persons Investigation – Jennifer Pentilla

Jennifer Pentilla - Missing PersonOn October 1, 1991, Jennifer left her home in Missoula, Montana and flew to San Diego. Among her possessions were her white Fuji bicycle and a return airplane ticket. Jennifer made frequent contact with family and friends via telephone from October 1 – 17, 1991. She was last seen at a Shell service station on Pine Street in Deming, New Mexico. From there she called her mother at approximately 9 a.m. on October 17. A missing persons report was generated on November 1, 1991, by the Missoula Police Department.On September 4, 1992, hikers discovered several items belonging to Jennifer under a tarp in a remote area between Hatch and Deming off of State Road 26. The investigation of Jennifer’s disappearance was the subject of national news coverage but no information as to her location has surfaced. Jennifer is 5 feet 5 inches tall, 125 pounds, blonde hair and blue eyes. Her date of birth is April 4, 1973. Anyone with information concerning the disappearance of Jennifer can contact New Mexico State Police Criminal Investigations in Las Cruces, NM, Sgt. Felipe Gonzalez, at (575) 524-6111 or e-mail at Felipe.Gonzalez@state.nm.us.