The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office announced it has arrested three teenage boys in connection with the death of 19-year-old Isaiah Herrera, a recent Pojoaque Valley High School graduate whose body was found Feb. 4 along a roadway in Nambé, near where he lived.
Deputies discovered Herrera’s body while responding to a call for a welfare check from a woman who said a co-worker who lived in the Nambé neighborhood had heard several gunshots and saw a body lying on Vista Herrera, a dirt road near Nambe Pueblo.
The co-worker had poor cell service in the community and was unable to dial 911, according to arrest warrant affidavits for the teens.
The affidavits say sheriff’s office investigators believe Abram Anthony William Martinez of Española, the lead suspect in the case, shot and killed Herrera when the two were meeting up for a marijuana sale. The teens also are accused of stealing any money, marijuana or other drugs Herrera had in his possession when he died, along with his cellphone.
Martinez is charged with an open count of murder, armed robbery, tampering with evidence, and various counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and tampering with evidence.
Investigators tracked down Martinez and the other young suspects — Jacob Ruben Vigil of Ohkay Owingeh and Christian Kenneth Madrid Sherwood of Española — through a series of Snapchat messages from Herrera’s account, surveillance video and a GPS tracking device Martinez’s mother had placed on his car, according to the affidavits.
Among the Snapchat evidence was an image of Martinez attempting to sell a stolen black-and-tan Smith & Wesson SD9 six days after Herrera’s death, the affidavits say.
Vigil and Sherwood are each charged with counts of tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence.
“Sheriff’s deputies have been persistent and dedicated following leads and details that resulted in the arrests of these three suspects,” Sheriff Adan Mendoza said in a news release issued Thursday.
Vigil and Sherwood admitted to investigators they had been with Martinez the night Herrera was killed, the affidavits say. Vigil told investigators he had retrieved Herrera’s marijuana and cellphone after Martinez shot Herrera and that Martinez later shot and destroyed the cellphone.
The suspects’ birth dates are redacted from the charging documents the sheriff’s office released Thursday.
According to the documents, Martinez and Vigil were born in 2003, and Sherwood in 2004.
Martinez was on probation for another offense at the time of Herrera’s homicide, one affidavit says.