Charlie Molina, from driver’s license photo. (Courtesy Photo)
The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office has identified John Doe, whose body was found Nov. 19, east of Hagerman off NM 249, as Charlie Michael Molina, 18, of Hobbs.
The information came as a result of a Crime Stoppers tip after the SO released an artist’s composite drawing of the victim to the media on Dec. 20. The SO received confirmation of Molina’s identity after it sent prints associated with his juvenile record to Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque. Molina had been arrested previously for receiving stolen property.
The second victim whose body was found in the county on Nov. 22, along Buffalo Valley Road east of Lake Arthur was identified earlier as Mark T. Walters III, 48. The deaths appear to be related. Juan Uribe-Vidal, 25, of Hobbs, and James Gomez, 22, of Hagerman, are listed as persons of interest. The two men remain in Lea County Detention Center following their arrest for the shooting of Lea County sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Michael Tovar. He was injured while executing a Chaves County search warrant at a residence at 61 E. Everglade Road in Hobbs.
The case has become a multi-jurisdiction investigation with the New Mexico State Police, Eddy and Lea county Sheriff Departments and the Hobbs Police Department all participating.
Sgt. Raul L. Valderaz said that evidence gathered by the NMSP has been sent to a lab in Santa Fe for assessment.
“When you start a homicide investigation, it’s always convoluted until you get enough information. … When it’s a homicide, we keep things close to the chest. We don’t want to release anything that only … the suspects should know.”
Lt. Daniel Ornelas concurred. “It’s like a puzzle. The more you interview, the more pieces start falling into place.”
More information is needed. In particular, the SO would like to know how Molina and Walters spent their last days. Ornelas said that the information would not have to be limited to their movements immediately prior to their deaths.
The SO urges people to contact Crime Stoppers, 1-888-594-8477. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward.