Thieves make off with Shelly aide's trailer

WINDOW ROCK, January 24, 2013

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W INDOW ROCK - The big question may not be who stole the travel trailer of a high ranking Navajo tribal official but How did they do it?

Erny Zah, director of communications for Navajo President Ben Shelly and Vice-President Rex Lee Jim, said he discovered Tuesday that his 29-foot travel trailer located in Sawmill had been stolen sometime during the weekend.

The trailer was used for storage and as a part-time residence.

"Whoever did it apparently hooked it up to their vehicle and somehow dragged it off," said Zah.

That somehow is what puzzles Zah since electricity is needed to hook up the trailer to a vehicle.

"There's no electricity out here," he said, adding that they would have had to use an electrical generator to hook it up and if they did he would have expected to see the snow near where the trailer was located melted because of the heat, but there was no sign of that.

What he did see, however, were sets of footprints that led from where the trailer was located to the nearby woods.

It looks as if the person or persons who took the trailer went to the woods to get branches to use as traction to get the trailer moving. There was also some plywood around the area as well as some blankets on the ground that were muddy and twisted that looked to have been used to help get traction as well.

Zah said that the blankets had been stored in the trailer.

The trailer was a 2005 Cody, beige in color, that was worth about $30,000 new and about half that now, he said.

When asked about distinguishing features, he noted that one of the back windows had been broken in a previous break-in and was taped. The battery cover had been left behind so the trailer's battery would not have a cover.

Thoreau woman charged with child abuse

A Thoreau woman who ran over her three-year-old son was charged with child abuse resulting in death Wednesday.

McKinley County Sheriff deputies picked up Irene Pinto, 37, in connection with the death of her son, Marquis Sandoval on Oct. 3, 2012.

Pinto told sheriff investigators that she had gone to the Thoreau Community Center earlier that day to get some papers copied for a friend.

"After she was finished, she told her son, Marquis, that they had to go but he didn't want to go, possibly because there was candy there," her arrest warrant said.

The two began arguing with Marquis still refusing to go. When Marquis ran away from her, Pinto walked to her pickup and got inside and started it, driving forward slowly.

Marquis at that time ran out of the community center and ran towards the truck. Pinto said she saw her son get in front of her pickup so she stopped.

She asked him again if he was going to get inside and he again said no.

She told the investigator that she thought Marquis ran off so she began driving forward slowly. She hadn't driven far when she said she felt that she ran over something and when she looked in her mirror, she saw Marquis on the ground.

She said she got out of her truck, picked the boy up and began yelling for help.

"She stated that Marquis was lying on his stomach with his head to the side," the arrest warrant stated, "with blood coming out of his mouth."

She told deputies that she also had two other children with her that day, her grandchildren ages eight months and three years but they were both inside the pickup.

She also told deputies that "Marquis always does that. He runs in front of me but he always backs away from the ride."

She admitted that she never tried picking him up and putting him in the truck.

Woman found guilty of vehicular homicide, DWI

A Tohlakai, N.M. woman was found guilty of DWI and two counts of vehicular homicide Friday by a Gallup jury.

Arlene Garnenez, 32, was allowed to continue on release until her sentencing within 90 days. She faces as much as six years each on the homicide charges and three years for DWI.

She was accused of being intoxicated in the early morning hours of July 23, 2011 when she fell asleep at the wheel of her pickup, which caused it to rollover and eject two of her friends, Christina Joe, 32, of Standing Rock, and Shawn Bennett, 32, of Prewitt.

The three, along with two other friends, had spent the night together, going out to eat and spending time at the Class Act in Gallup.

Garnenez testified that she had little to drink that night - possibly a total of no more than two beers. This was confirmed by the other two in the vehicle who testified that they had not seen her drink anything during the night.

But when blood tests were done three and four hours after the accident, she post a blood alcohol level of .06 and .04.

An expert witness put on by the prosecution testified that that would mean she had a blood alcohol level of between .11 and .12 at the time of the accident. The legal limit in New Mexico is .08.

Her attorney, Richard Wade, argued that there were problems with the blood tests and that it was just as likely that she nodded off at the wheel because she had not had slept for more than 26 hours and had driven a lot of miles that night.

The jury, however, took only six hours to arrive at the verdict.

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