Bodies not identified, no arrests made

Members of the New Mexico State Police investigate a crime scene Thursday morning on Roosevelt Road N 1/2 southeast of Portales where a burned-out car was found. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

Two bodies found Thursday in a burned car southeast of Portales were still not identified on Friday. But law-enforcement officials said they have found a blue pickup that may be connected to the deaths.

Now officials are asking for the public’s help in identifying anyone who may have been in the vicinity of the Allsup’s convenience store at 14th Street and Avenue D between 4 and 6 p.m. on Thursday.

“We believe the possible suspect or suspects were seen at (that) Allsup’s,” District Attorney Matt Chandler said. He would not explain how investigators came to that conclusion.

No arrests had been made in the case as of Friday night.

Chandler said a 1997 blue Ford pickup was found near a home northwest of Portales that was burned Thursday afternoon. Officials were called to the house fire while they were investigating the car fire and they believe the two are related. The blue pickup was seen leaving the scene of the house fire.

Officials on Friday afternoon canvassed a three-block area on South Avenue A and South Avenue B from Seventh Street to Tenth Street, which is where they found the pickup.

Chandler said the car and the pickup belonged to the residents of the burned home, but he declined to say if those residents are believed to be victims or suspects in the case. He did say both residents have been missing since Wednesday.

Chandler said the two bodies found in the car have not been identified.

“We will not have an identification … for some time,” Chandler said during a press conference on Friday afternoon. “They have been transported to the office of the medical investigator in Albuquerque.”

People with information can contact either Crime Stoppers at 356-8100 or the state police at 763-3426.