PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police revisit cold case homicide, asking for public’s assistance

Composite Sketch
Composite Sketch

Farmington, NM – Detectives with the Farmington Police Department are seeking information about a cold case homicide that took place nearly eight and a half years ago. On October 21, 2009 around 12:54 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area west of the Auburn Trailer Park located at 951 N. Auburn, in reference to a found body. Officers responded to the area and discovered a partially submerged adult male in the shallow brook west of the park. The male victim was quickly identified by family members who were on scene as 37-year-old Nathaniel Robert Morgan. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator ruled Morgan’s manner of death as a homicide. It was apparent that he’d been involved in some type of physical altercation prior to his death.

Nathaniel Robert Morgan Photo
Nathaniel Morgan

The last time Morgan was seen alive was the afternoon of October 20, 2009 when he was sitting on a lawn chair drinking by the stream with an unknown friend. The friend was described as a male, 25-to-35 years of age, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 170 pounds with a shaved head.  Witnesses met with a forensic artist within days and a composite sketch was drawn and released to the media. The sketch generated numerous tips, which detectives followed up on. However, all leads were exhausted.

Farmington detectives are asking anyone with information about the altercation that occurred with Mr. Morgan or who recognize the composite sketch to call Detective Heather Chavez at 566-2370 or non-emergency dispatch at 334-6622. Anonymous tips may be submitted to San Juan County Crime Stoppers at 334-TIPS.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Farmington Police Department to host second presentation in “Choices” series: A look at domestic violence

Farmington, NM – A local survivor of domestic violence will share her courageous story with the community during a presentation on April 24 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sycamore Park Community Center. The presentation is part of the Farmington Police Department’s “Choices” series. The first presentation took place in January of this year and featured former gang member, Jorge Cuevas.

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is experienced by individuals and families nationwide. The abusive tactics used by a partner to control another can include physical, sexual and emotional violence as well as economic abuse and use of children to manipulate the victim into staying in the relationship. An estimated one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

During this free public event, the presenter will give a first-hand account of living with an abuser and how she was finally able to escape. A victim advocate and detective with the Farmington Police Department will provide an overview and local statistics of domestic violence. Representatives from local organizations will be available to provide resources to individuals in need of services.

*Media is welcome to attend the event. However, the presenter has requested that her name not be used is stories and that she not be photographed from the front. 

PRESS RELEASE: 17-year-old male charged in west Farmington stabbing

Farmington, NM – Farmington police are investigating a stabbing that occurred yesterday evening in west Farmington. Officers were dispatched to the area of Piedras Street and Robin Avenue around 6:30 p.m. for a welfare check of a subject who was “passed out.”  When officers arrived they found an individual lying in the dirt lot north of Piedras. The individual, a 28-year-old male from Arizona, was deceased and appeared to have multiple stab wounds. Officers established a perimeter and detectives responded to the scene.

Through investigation, a 17-year-old male from Farmington was identified as a suspect and located in the area. He was transported to the Farmington Police Department for questioning and subsequently arrested on charges of Second Degree Murder and three counts of Tampering with Evidence. He was booked into the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Nationally recognized speakers to present in San Juan County, advocates for cell-free roads

Hang Up and DriveFarmington, NM –  Nationally recognized speakers, Jacy Good and Steve Johnson, are coming to San Juan County to share their story and encourage others to hang up and drive. A free public presentation will take place on April 3 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the San Juan College Henderson Fine Arts Center. During that same week Jacy and Steve will also be speaking at area high schools.  The presentations were organized by the 11th Judicial District Courts, Farmington Police Department and the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management.

Jacy and Steve graduated from college in May 2008. A tragedy struck hours after receiving their diplomas. About halfway back to her childhood home in Lancaster, Pa. the car carrying Jacy and her parents was struck head-on by a tractor trailer as both entered an intersection with green lights. The truck had swerved to try to avoid a man coming from the intersecting road who attempted to turn left through a red light. That man was talking on his phone at the time.

Jacy’s parents never left the scene but an astounding series of fortunate events and unequalled medical care kept Jacy alive in the crumpled car, the ambulance ride and through 8 ½ hours of surgery. She was given a 10 percent chance of survival as she lay comatose and nearly unrecognizable in intensive care that first night. Steve spent 12 hours a day by her side through four months of hospitalization. Jacy’s laundry list of injuries have managed to heal through time and a healthy dose of titanium rods, plates and screws. Due to a traumatic brain injury, she is unable to use her left arm or lower leg and has minor lingering cognitive issues.

Less than a year after that life-altering tragedy, Jacy began to campaign for a cell phone ban in her native Pennsylvania. This unexpectedly triggered an avalanche of interview requests and public appearances. Since April 2010, Jacy has been on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a guest of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations, a “Hero Among Us” in People Magazine, a speaker at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, on NPR’s Car Talk and has been featured in dozens of articles, television news pieces and press conferences nationwide.

Since 2011, Jacy and Steve have spoken at over 850 events across the country to over 250,000 people. They encourage drivers to make safer choices, companies to develop and enforce cell phone policies and legislators to pass necessary laws to protect the public.

For more information about Jacy and Steve, visit hangupanddrive.com

 

FPD’s response to recent article about crime in our city

A recent article published by 24/7 Wall Street that also ran in The Daily Times, listed Farmington as #8 in 25 cities where violent crime is “soaring.” Once again, our city is being named in an article that is misleading because they are referring to the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) data and not solely to Farmington proper data.

We would like to remind citizens that our extended geographical area has a population exceeding 50,000. Therefore, it has been designated by the federal government as an MSA; Farmington is a subset of the overall MSA. Aztec, Kirtland, Bloomfield, Shiprock, unincorporated areas of San Juan County and parts of the Navajo Nation are also part of the “Farmington MSA.” The MSA is named after Farmington because it has the largest population of the MSA territory. Our MSA is 5,500 square miles, an area larger than the State of Connecticut. Farmington is 32 square miles, which is less than one percent of the MSA.

A positive benefit of being considered an MSA is that we are on the national map for various forms of economic, commercial and retail development. On the negative side, media outlets publish non-independently verified “facts” regarding the Farmington MSA. Typically these reports do not make it clear they are analyzing the entire MSA, leaving readers to assume it is limited to Farmington proper. These media stories can give an incomplete or inaccurate picture of our city. This issue was addressed in a previous episode of The Mayor’s Table (attached). We encourage citizens to watch that episode as it provides a more in-depth explanation of the MSA and the status of our community.

Chief Hebbe stated, “I’m disappointed with yet another article that distorts the image of our city. Like many communities, we do have some violent crime. However, our incidents of random violent crime are significantly less than this article insinuates. Like all of you, the men and women of the Farmington Police Department care deeply about our community and do their best to ensure this remains a safe and wonderful community to live and raise families.”

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police to conduct sobriety checkpoints in March

Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department is working to keep our roadways safe and free from impaired drivers. During the month of March, they will be conducting sobriety checkpoints as part of the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s ENDDWI campaign. The campaign was created to help reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities on our roadways.

Corporal Johnston with FPD’s Traffic Division emphasized the importance of not driving while impaired, “DWI crashes are something that can be completely avoided by choosing to use a designated driver. By doing so, you’re not only ensuring your own safety but the safety of other individuals and families on the road.”

The Farmington Police Department would also like to remind citizens to be vigilant and report suspected drunk drivers by calling 911. Working with our community to keep our roadways safe!

PRESS RELEASE: Standoff with shooting suspect from Ignacio ends in officer-involved shooting

Farmington, NM – Farmington police responded to the Motel 6 on Bloomfield Boulevard Monday night in reference to a suspect who was wanted by the Ignacio Police Department. The suspect had a felony warrant for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. At approximately 8:45 p.m. the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office located the suspect’s vehicle and confirmed that he was staying at the motel. Farmington Police Department’s SWAT team and crisis negotiation team responded shortly after. The suspect, a 25-year-old male from Colorado, was inside one of the motel rooms along with his mother. His mother came out of the room at approximately 10:18 p.m. SWAT officers began making announcements for the suspect to come out. Around 10:56 p.m. an FPD crisis negotiator attempted to make contact with the suspect by phone, but the suspect would not answer. The negotiator continued to call until around 11:56 p.m. No contact was ever made with the suspect. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the room and just before 1:00 a.m. SWAT slowly made entry into the room. Officers were able to hear movement in the ceiling and again made multiple attempts to get him to come out. SWAT officers began removing the ceiling tile and the suspect fell out. Once on the ground, he immediately stood up and charged officers with a knife. An officer fired his duty weapon striking the suspect. Medical aid was immediately rendered and the suspect was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The New Mexico State Police are responding to take over the investigation. More information will be released as the State Police investigation unfolds. Chief Hebbe said, “While it’s unfortunate that the suspect chose not to end this peacefully, we are extremely relieved and grateful that none of our officers or any other civilians were harmed.”