Authorities have announced that five persons, four of whom are children, were found shot to death in a Roswell, New Mexico, home on Saturday. The police are currently on the hunt for the suspect, who they believe is actually a relative of those killed.
Todd Wildermuth, a spokesman for the Roswell police, spoke to the media and advised that the bodies were discovered by a relative who was checking on the house at approximately 11:15 p.m. on Saturday. KOAT Albuquerque wrote that the family members said that someone had stopped by the house on the 2300 block of Davis Avenue, after they were unable to get in contact with the family by telephone. Following the gruesome discovery at the family’s north Roswell home, the police were called to the scene of the murders.
The police suspect was not immediately identified by the police, with them only initially advising that it was a male who they suspected to have shot and killed the five persons. The children ranged in age from 3 to 14 years old. According to Wildermuth, the victims included only one teenager while the three other children were younger.
While they have yet to officially release the identities of the five victims, the suspect in the fatal shootings was identified by Roswell Police as 34-year-old Juan David Villegas-Hernandez. On Sunday, the authorities identified the suspect, announcing that they believed the man had killed his 34-year-old wife and the couple’s four children (ages 14, 11, 7, and 3) before fleeing the scene. All of the couple’s children were girls. They believe that the suspected killer may be driving a red, four-door Ford pickup truck that has New Mexico license plate reading KJS479.
According to Omaha World-Herald, the Roswell police believe that the shootings and deaths occurred earlier in the day, but have not yet established a timeline for the killings. Each of the victims were killed because of a gunshot wound. Thus far there has also been no motives established for the killings and the investigation is currently still ongoing.
Officer Wildermuth has said that all pertinent information about the case has been shared among the regional law enforcement officials.
“Everyone that we can inform has been informed as far as law enforcement goes and they are looking for him as well.”
The authorities are asking that anyone with information that could possibly lead to the arrest of the suspect or any other information relating to the murder case call Roswell Police Department at 575-624-6770.
This is not the first such tragedy that New Mexico has experienced, involving violent gun killings and family members. In February, a New Mexico teenager was arrested, tried, and convicted after he not only shot and killed his parents but also his three younger siblings. The teenager was only 15 years old when he began firing on his family members in their south Albuquerque home.
Nehemiah Griego first killed his mother while she was sleeping, then moved on to his 9-year-old brother and two sisters, who were 5 and 2 years of age. The boy’s father was the last to die, having not been home at the time of the killings. Griego hid in the bathroom of the family’s home and ambushed his father once he arrived.
The Ventura County Star wrote that the boy was convicted and sentenced as a juvenile and expected to be released from state custody by the time he turns 21, which he will be in March 2018; he is now 18 years old. The teenager’s attorneys argued for him being psychologically rehabilitated after stating that the boy was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and several learning disabilities.
In October, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder for killing his parents as well as three counts of child abuse resulting in death for the killing of his siblings.
[Image via Roswell Police Department]