Thursday, February 26, 2009

Albuquerque Isn't the First, Nor Will It Be the Last

by Stacy Dittrich

The FBI estimates there are upwards of 80 serial killers roaming the United States at any given time. To "bubble people" (my own term for those who don’t pay attention to crime or believe it could happen to them), this number sounds outlandish. But to others in law enforcement, or those who stay glued to their televisions—transfixed on the most current high-profile crimes—80 seems a bit on the mild side of estimated serial murderers. Perhaps this is why many of us weren’t reeling in shock at the recent discovery of the remains of 10 bodies outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Law enforcement officials believe many or most victims to be drug addicts or prostitutes; no great loss to society right? Wrong! These victims were someone’s daughter, sister, and one of the victims, Victoria Chavez (pictured left), was found with the remains of her unborn fetus. Now, if one of the victims had been Britney Spears we couldn’t possibly escape the media coverage, but there has been very little in the Albuquerque case. It makes one wonder if America is becoming numb to violent crime. That should tell us something about the current state of our country. You can read the FBI crime stats that say crime isn’t on the rise until you’re blue in the face, but I can attest to the fact that police administrators do a damn good job of fudging numbers when compiling crime stats before they are turned over to the FBI.

Canada certainly isn’t numb to crime. If you can recall the case of the serial killing pig farmer, Robert Pickton (pictured right), the nation was in shock over his mass murders. Pickton confessed to the murders of 49 women, many of whom were ground up with pork and given to family and friends, while others were simply fed to the pigs. Out of 60 missing women in the Vancouver area, Pickton was responsible for the majority. If America becomes focused on a crime where the body count is high, it’s mainly for the purpose of an upcoming true-crime book or movie of the week. For some Americans, it’s entertainment.

In the Albuque
rque case, housing projects sat to the south and east of where the remains were located and were frequently subjected to flooding, something the residents complained about incessantly to the property owner. To alleviate the problem, the landowner dug culverts around the property, which brought forth the first set of bones that were discovered by hikers. As law enforcement descended upon the area, they discovered the grim mass burial site. Unfortunately, two of the suspects police are eyeing closely—Fred Reynolds, a local pimp, and Lorenzo Montoya—are dead. Tying the murders down between 2001 and 2006, police are confident they are dealing with one killer.

America’s geographical region is quite large, with many remote areas consisting of deserts and mountains. The notion of other mass graves that we may never know or discover truly overwhelms the mind. I once stood by while a homicide victim was dug up from a backyard where the remains had been for over three years. Had a relative not confessed to get out of other crimes, the body most likely would have never been found. This was on a heavily populated street less than a mile outside of a city. Imagine what else is out there across the country?

I’ll try not to. In fact, I think I’d like to start living in a bubble.


FleaStiff said...

"Law enforcement officials believe many or most of them to be drug addicts or prostitutes; no great loss to society..."
Is it possible to estimate how much property values improved in the neighborhood by not having these streetwalkers there? Is it possible to estimate how many fewer burlaries there were to support their drug habits?
Yes, they were daughters, sisters, etc. They were an expense to society when they lived and now even in their death they continue to be an expense to society. Perhaps its time to adopt a different view and accept your words at face value: "no great loss to society".

TLTL said...

Geez Fleastiff, if we adopted your glib attitude none of us would be any great loss to society. That is utterly ridiculous.

I think the old saying @ the squeeky wheel very much applies here. If we aren't advocates for those women these crimes will remain unsolved. Sometimes you have to shame LE to investigate and seek a resolution.

Jan C, said...

I certainly hope Stiff Flea's comments were meant as sarcasm or, at least, a misguided attempt at humor to stir the pot. Surely, we aren't down-grading the value of a person's life simply because they don't conform to an arbitrary standard of productivity.

The statistics Stacy quotes regarding the number of serial killers operating in our country scares the hell out of me.

cheryl said...

Even Gary Ridgeway, the Green River killer, made an exception and killed at least one non-prostitute. Was he performing a public service as to killing the prostitutes?

I have to believe the first commenter was trying to stir the pot. If not, I would advise that person to take a look at video of the victim impact statements made before sentencing.

Jackie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry said...

I am from England, United Kingdom and moved to Albuquerque in October 2008 after marrying my USC wife whom has lived in Albuquerque all her life. I was deeply disturbed when I heard about this mass grave but have been even more shocked by the lack of media attention. Much more attention was paid to that lady and her chimp which attacked a close friend. Now dont get me wrong I hope the lady who was attacked makes a speedy recovery, but what about the families of these poor women (I assume they are all women) who have been murdered? It must seem like the nobody cares and for me it shows that society has become fixated with the wrong things.

Maybe, just maybe if more attention was paid to this horrific crime it may go along way into solving it's mystery and bringing to justice those resposible.

Jan said...

No one deserves to be murdered. No one. Think of the agony of the families who never knew what had happened to their loved one. Were they alive? Dead? Sick or hurt and in a hospital? I have met the mother of a young man who has been missing for many years. She has accepted the fact that he is probably dead, but doesn't have any idea of how or why. She has never been able to "bring him home." That's difficult. My first thought when these remains were discovered was thankfulness that at least those families will have an answer. They will be able to lay their loved one to rest and go ahead with their mourning.

Justice, unfortunately, will take a long time. I hope they see it in the end.

Anonymous said...

Boy, are you ever open-minded! You deleted my message that you are treating mere allegations as if they were facts. Can't you handle even mild criticism? If not, perhaps you should just shut down this site.

Anonymous said...

Boy, are you ever open-minded! You deleted my message that you are treating mere allegations as if they were facts. Can't you handle even mild criticism? If not, perhaps you should just shut down this site.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the reason this is getting so little coverage is its southwest albuquerque. I lived in Albuquerque for 10 years and sadly violent crime, especially in sw albuquerque, is par for the course. The show Cops is banned from airing albuquerque footage because it was on too much... does that tell you something? There are areas there that cops don't go unless in force. A mass grave is a little over the top but not by much. My friends came across a dead body in the park and called the cops, they were told it would be a while because the cops were dealing with a drunk 9 yr old wandering alone.

FleaStiff said...

>I hope Stiff Flea's comments were sarcasm or humor
No. Neither. Just an attempt to impose on politicians and public agencies a sense of stewardship and accountability for how tax-revenue is utilized. Just as jurors should be able to determine that some laws should not be enforced, so too should taxpayers have control over the squandering of investigative funds.