Police investigating possible homicide near downtown skate park

Santa Fe police officers investigate Sunday after a man’s body was found under a bridge spanning the Santa Fe River near the skate park at De Vargas Park. Robert Nott/The New Mexican

Police are investigating a potential homicide after the Sunday morning discovery of a man whose body was found under a bridge spanning the Santa Fe River near the skate plaza at De Vargas Park.

Lt. Jose Gonzales of the Santa Fe Police Department said police received a call about the body around 11:16 a.m. Sunday near the corner of Alameda and Guadalupe streets. Shortly afterward, police cordoned off the area surrounding the skate park, diverting traffic and asking people to move out beyond police tape lines.

Gonzales said that as of Sunday evening officers still had not identified the man, who suffered “blunt force trauma” to his body. Police believe the victim is between 20 and 30 years old.

An officer on the scene said officers were “shutting down the area” as they awaited detectives. The scene was still being guarded by police as of as dusk approached Sunday.

Two young men who said they had been skating at the park since about 8 a.m. said they saw no sign of a body but did observe “a couple of people running from the scene when police arrived.”

The investigation scene is just blocks away from where 33-year-old Matthew Edward Corral was found dead in late July from what police said was blunt trauma to the chest.

Ten days earlier, and just a block away from where Corral was discovered, Jessie Saucedo shot and killed his wife, state employee Ernestine Saucedo, before taking his own life.

Gonzales said heavy police patrol of the area may have played a role in a decrease in calls about problems around the park.

“We haven’t seen the amount of problems we’ve seen in the past in that area,” he said.

Jack Sweeney, co-owner of Primo’s Cigar Shop in the 300 block of Sandoval Street, just a block or two from the crime scene, said he feels safe at his business.

But that’s partially because the cigar store attracts a number of current and former police officers, he said.

“But it’s safe here,” he said of the neighborhood.

A woman who works for both a downtown business in the area of the crime scene and for Santa Fe County’s downtown office said she feels safe most of the time. But, she said, she has encountered more people who “seem out of sorts” on the streets around the area where the body was found. She declined to be identified.

Gonzales — who said he did not know how many homicides police have been investigating since the beginning of the year — said he expects police to have more information on the case sometime Monday afternoon.

Looking for information

Police are asking with information about the case to call 505-428-3710 or Detective Samantha Talamante at 505-470-5170.

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General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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