Bones found in New Mexico can be linked to unsolved murders, funerals of 11 women

This 2015 image, you can see the place where 11 women, victims of the so-called West Mesa murders were found in Albuquerque, N. M.

(Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMA Wire)

Albuquerque police said Tuesday that a construction crew human bones in the vicinity of the place where the remains of 11 women were unearthed in 2009 — increasing the possibility that more victims of an unsolved serial killing that has haunted the city for 15 years.

The bones turned up on the West of the city of Mesa, less than a mile from the mass grave, where the remains were found nine years ago.

West Mesa murder victims, Evelyn Salazar, left, Cinnamon, and Moose.

Researchers have said that almost all of the West Mesa victims, who are between the ages of 15 and 32, worked as prostitutes before they disappeared between 2003 and 2005. According to the Albuquerque Journal, police have said that there may be a second cemetery after more women with a similar background disappeared in 2005 and 2006.

The West Mesa victims included Jamie Barela, a 15-year-old who was last seen by her family in 2004. Buried with her were Syllannia Edwards, 15, a runaway from Lawton, Okla., and Michelle Valdez, 22, who was pregnant.


Albuquerque police chief Michael Geier told reporters the bones and other remains would be analyzed and tested, a process that can take months.

“We are not 100 percent sure that this is related, but at this point we’re treating it as a are similar, the first round,” said Geier, who admitted that the scene felt like “deja vu.”

Fifteen-year-old Jamie Barela, left, was a cousin of Evelyn Salazar. Right, victim Monica Candelaria

“It looks like a funeral,” he said. “There is enough, there is a concern.”

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller told reporters a small stream used to run between the first cemetery and the area where the remains were found Tuesday. He added that construction work in the area had been told for years to keep an eye on for the human remains.

“This is an archaeological area as well,” Keller said. “So, we certainly understand and are very concerned that this might be one of the missing six to eight women from the original West-Side of the group. However, there is no way we can confirm that in this time.”

In a statement, the Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Peña said the bones were found in a park will be built near the site of a memorial for the women and the unborn child found buried on the West Mesa.

Virginia is Split, to the left, and the 15-year-old runaway Syllannia Edwards.

“I am saddened by the tragic loss of human life, and at the thought that yet another family has had to endure years of uncertainty and pain of not knowing where their loved one was,” said Peña.

The police received the federal grant money to update their it systems to cross-reference information they get from tips about the serial murders.

The city maintains a website about the case and a company has printed cards with all 11 victims and encouraged companies to keep them outside the case in the public eye.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from the Albuquerque Journal.

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