Cheryl Ortega, mother of suspect James Ortega, called the Roswell Daily Record to report that Tommy Smith turned himself into police on Thursday.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t think itâ€™s fair that people are saying that he raped this girl,â€ she said.
â€œEvery crime thatâ€™s committed in Roswell gets blamed on these kids.â€
The Roswell Police Department issued a press release on Wednesday stating that they were seeking information about the whereabouts of Steven Perez, James Ortega and Tommy Smith in connection with a kidnapping and criminal sexual penetration case.
Public Information Officer for RPD [auth] Travis Holley confirmed that Tommy Smith was in custody, but did not know the circumstances under which he was apprehended. Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, members of SWAT raided the Frontier Motel, 3010 N. Main Street, in response to a tip that two suspects, James Ortega and Tommy Smith were staying in the motel.
Holley would not reveal the source of the information, adding â€œif I tell you that, then people would stop calling.â€ According to eye witnesses, motel guests were evacuated before 12 officers entered the building, but Ortega and Smith had already left the scene.
â€œThe use of the SWAT team is standard in these situations and strictly for our protection,â€ said Holley. Detectives are still seeking information about the whereabouts of Perez and Ortega.
Steven Perez was released on bond from Chaves County Detention Center where he was being held on charges of shooting at or from a motor vehicle, and aggravated assault, both 4th degree felonies. The shooting incident took place on August, 13.
Perez was also listed as person of interest in the shooting of a 16-year-old girl, along the 1100 block of East Holland Avenue on Sept. 8. Perezâ€™s brother, Zachary ,was found in a vacant lot near East Fifth Street, stabbed to death on Feb. 13.
Holley refused to comment on whether the kidnapping incident in which Perez, Smith and Ortega are implicated are related to the Perez murder. â€œIn our world, it is only important if there is evidence to support it. You can make your own parallels if you want.â€ However, he did admit that the incidents were gang related.