A 52-year-old Albuquerque man is facing an open count of murder after allegedly killing his wife before inflicting non-life-threatening injuries upon himself early Tuesday morning in the couple’s Far Northeast Heights home.
Officers arrived at their pink-colored house shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday in the 11900 block of Persimmon Avenue NE to conduct a “welfare check” on Larry and Geraldine Hoffland. They didn’t say who might have expressed alarm about the couple’s well-being. A neighbor said they didn’t arrive at work, which raised alarms.
After trying to contact them at the front door and by telephone, police said, officers forced entry to find Geraldine Hoffland, 53, dead from undisclosed injuries and Larry Hoffland with non- life-threatening, self-inflicted wounds.
Larry Hoffland was taken to a hospital and was scheduled to be booked on a murder charge upon his release. A police spokeswoman said she could not say whether the self-inflicted injuries were a suicide attempt, just that they were not life-threatening.
As for Geraldine Hoffland’s cause of death, police said they needed to wait for the results of an autopsy from the Office of the Medical Investigator.
Neighbor Judi Sinks said Tuesday night that she met the couple when she moved to the neighborhood about 18 years ago and that they seemed happy. Sinks said the pair helped her when her husband died of lung cancer, and one time Larry assisted her when her husband collapsed because of his illness. She said they became good friends.
“It’s such a shock,” Sinks said. “They were both so well-liked. We’d sit around and converse, and they just became really sweet, dear, good friends. This situation is just a total shock to anyone who knew them.”
Both worked at Southwest Airlines, Sinks said, where Geraldine – known by friends as “Geri” – worked at a front desk helping with tickets and baggage.
She said Larry had knee surgery and was off for over a month before returning to work a few weeks ago. She said he was never violent and had never acted strangely. She said he was gregarious, more so than his wife, whom she described as “knockout, drop-dead gorgeous.”
They have two children, Sinks said, as well as two grandchildren who liked to play with fake gnomes and owls she put out in her front yard. They also had a small dog named Lola, Sinks said.
The home is in a well-tended neighborhood just south of Academy and west of Tramway Boulevard. The quiet, well-off neighborhood is home to dentists, Sandia Laboratories workers and others, according to a different neighbor.
Sinks said she awoke to police cars and crime tape at the home two doors down.
A few people were going in and out of the Hoffland home Tuesday evening, but declined to comment.
“I guess you just never know who lives next to you,” Sinks said. “I am just in shock. I am praying for them.”
Little information about the couple was available in online resources or court records other than that they appear to have lived in Albuquerque since at least 1986 and moved several times within the city.
They filed for divorce in 1988, according to court records, but it was unclear whether the divorce went through.
The APD spokeswoman in a Tuesday afternoon email said the couple was married.
Court records also show a 2001 misdemeanor case where they were both arrested for allegedly drinking in public within two weeks of each other. Charges were dismissed in both cases.