Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

Cold Case Unit


The New Mexico Department of Justice is proud to introduce our new Cold Case Unit, a team of dedicated and seasoned investigators committed to revisiting unresolved cases in our community. Under the leadership of Attorney General Torrez, armed with advanced forensic technology, a fresh perspective, and a collaborative effort with statewide law enforcement agencies, this specialized unit is determined to crack the mysteries that have remained unsolved.

Our mission is to bring justice to the victims and closure to the families reaffirming our pledge that no case is ever truly forgotten in our relentless pursuit for justice.

If you have any information on the cold cases below, please call our Tip-hotline at 505-570-5244 or email NMDOJ’s Cold Case Unit at coldcases@nmag.gov.

Select a tab to review details of the case.

Thomas & Judy McKnight - November 15, 1984

On November 15, 1984 a couple were found deceased from gun shots in their rural Lincoln County home. Cotton and Judy ran the Upper McKnight Ranch in southeastern Lincoln County.  They were found shot to death, execution style, in the kitchen of their home.  Each had last been seen alive two days earlier.  The report also stated that there was no sign of forced entry, indicating that the victims likely knew the person or persons who shot them.

Stephen Sandlin - May 7, 1988

Mountainair Police Patrolman Stephen Sandlin was shot and killed inside of the Mountainair Police Department building at approximately 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 7, 1988.

The last person to talk to Steve before his death was his girlfriend. The two were making plans for the next day. At around 7pm, their conversation was interrupted by an unidentified female who came into the station. She felt that the two were getting loud and possibly arguing. When he came back on the phone, he said that it was "no big deal" and that he had to go. He then hung up the phone.

Select a tab to review details of the case.

Jack Lee Elkins - November 7, 1992

On November 7, 1992, Jack Elkins, was found deceased from a single gun shot in his home, which was behind his business, the Correo Trading Post located on Old Highway 66 near I-40 in Valencia County. Elkins had been the elected Sheriff for Valencia County Sheriff from 1967 to 1971. 

Annie Tapia - March 23rd, 1995

On March 23rd, 1995, the Santa Fe Police Department conducted a welfare check at the San Franciscan Liquors/Rocking Tee Pee located at 4300 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe New Mexico. While conducting the welfare check the Body of Annie Tapia was discovered. The Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the death as a Homicide. The cause of death was blunt trauma to head. 

Judy and Gary Wilson - November 9, 1995

On November 9, 1995, Judy and Gary Wilson were reported missing.  The Wilson's moved into the Antelope Run Subdivision roughly 20 miles southwest of Quemado in rural Catron County, New Mexico in June of 1995.  Gary and Judy were last seen on November 8th and their disappearance was reported the following day to the Catron County Sheriff's Office by a neighbor.  The Wilson's truck was later located on December 30th several miles southeast of the Antelope Run Subdivision and the remains of Gary and Judy were found more than 9 months later, on September 1, 1996 in the Johnson Basin area by hikers.  Both Gary and Judy had sustained apparent gunshot wounds.

The disappearance and murder of the Wilson's was investigated extensively by the New Mexico State Police as well as the Catron County Sheriff's Office.

Select a tab to review details of the case.

Erilaina (Irwin) Chavez​ - January 10, 2017

On the evening of January 10, 2017, at about 7:30 PM, Erilaina (Irwin) Chavez was driving her truck near Highway 118 where it crossed the railroad tracks, near I-40 in Williams Acre, NM; near Gallup.

An unknown assailant riding in the vehicle, shot Erilaina and pushed her out onto the roadway. She was still alive when an unknown bystander found her. Another person driving down the road also stopped to help and called 911. Erilaina’s truck was found two days later at the Manuelito Chapter House.

Raul Torrez
Attorney General
Raúl Torrez


The image is the New Mexico Department of Justice primary seal. This seal is framed with gold gradient rope and a slim gold bar followed by a thicker dark blue circular bar that has white text that reads, "State of New Mexico" at the bottom and "Department of Justice" at the top. At the center of the seal is a gradient circle with a dark blue roman-inspired Pillar in the shape of New Mexico.