It’s been more than a year and a half since the remains of 11 women and a fetus were found on Albuquerque’s West Mesa, but police have made no arrests in the case.
In February 2009, a woman found a human bone while walking her dog. It was the first clue in the soon-to-be massive investigation.
The suspect list for the West Mesa slayings is still fewer than 10, but Schultz said they don’t know if the killer is still alive.
Police seized several items from Ron Erwin’s home and business in Missouri last summer. He’s never been named a suspect and Schultz wouldn’t talk about any connection between Erwin and the slayings.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CBS/AP) Federal agents and police in two states searched the homes and business of 57-year-old Ron Erwin Tuesday, in connection with the bodies of 11 women who were found in February 2009 in the Albuquerque desert.
Erwin owns a photography business and health food store in Joplin, Mo. According to his mother, Bulah Erwin, her son previously owned a used book store and collectible shop, and frequently traveled to Albuquerque for the city’s renowned hot-air balloon festival, but had not gone for the last six years.
Albuquerque police Chief Ray Schultz reported that his department was investigating men who hired prostitutes and have a violent history. According to Schultz the killer was most likely a man who acted alone.
Dateline covered the murders.
There are also photos of possible missing women that are connected to the case. The police are asking for the public’s help to identify the women. Photos, information and videos from Dateline here. According to the TV program, FBI profilers told Albuquerque police that the killer was a white or Hispanic male in his 30s.
Albuquerque police released photos of unidentified women who may also be linked to the West Mesa murders.
“It appears that some of the women may be unconscious, again we don’t know what that reason is at this point in time if they were just sleeping or something else had occurred to them,” he said.
So just where did the pictures come from? The Chief wouldn’t say. He did go back and forth on whether police seized the photos from someone or if they were turned over voluntarily. At one point answering, “Yes” when asked which one of the ways was right.
I have looked at the photos and they are disturbing. Some of the women look dead.
It is not unusual for serial killers to take photos of the victims.
Michelle Valdez and her unborn baby. (aka the unidentified fetus) She was 4 months pregnant.
Two men who initially attracted police attention in connection with the murders were Fred Reynolds and Lorenzo Montoya. Reynolds was a pimp who knew one of the missing women and reportedly had photos of missing prostitutes; he died a natural death in January 2009. Lorenzo Montoya lived less than two miles from the burial site; in 2006 there were reportedly tire tracks leading from his trailer to the site. In December 2006, Montoya strangled a teenage prostitute at his trailer; he was shot to death by the prostitute’s boyfriend.
In August 2010, police searched several properties in Joplin, Missouri associated with a local photographer and businessman in connection with the West Mesa cases. They confiscated “tens of thousands” of photos from the man, who reportedly used to visit the state fair in Albuquerque.
No official suspects have ever been named in connection with the murders. A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.