Warrants issued in invasion at MMA fighter’s home

January 7, 2014 • State News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A third man has been arrested and warrants have been issued for two women in connection with a deadly home invasion north of Las Cruces, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.

Court records show Nathan Avalos, 20, is charged with aggravated burglary, conspiracy and criminal damage to property in the Jan. 1 invasion of Joseph Torrez’s home.

Avalos was arrested after being released from the hospital Monday. He was being held at the county jail on a $25,000 cash-only bond, [auth] said sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Jameson.

Investigators said Torrez, a professional mixed martial arts fighter, was home with his fiancee and his young son when Avalos and three other men allegedly forced their way into his home and an altercation ensued.

The incident stemmed from an argument that happened earlier that evening. Investigators said they are still trying to piece together what happened.

When deputies arrived at Torrez’s mobile home, they found the body of Sal Garces in the street about two doors down. Garces, 25, had been beaten and stabbed several times.

Leonard Calvillo, 22, and Raymond Garces, 19, the brother of the man who was killed, were found and arrested on aggravated burglary and aggravated battery charges.

Calvillo was on probation at the time, investigators said. As a result, he’s being held without bond.

The younger Garces, who was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of his arrest, is being held on a $10,000 secured bond.

Deputies were also seeking Cylver Pearl Betancourt, 18, and Rachel Carrillo, 19, on charges of aggravated burglary and conspiracy. They believe the women had accompanied the four men that night.

It’s not clear whether the three men and the women have attorneys.

Torrez is no longer cooperating with authorities. His attorney, C.J. McElhinney, has said he fears the 27-year-old still may face charges even though he was protecting his family and home.

McElhinney said Torrez fought off the intruders, killing Sal Garces and injuring another. He said one man attacked Torrez with a handmade shank and another grabbed a kitchen knife.

Torrez gave statements to deputies and has since moved from the area for his family’s safety, McElhinney said.

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