Autopsy reports lay out torture, slaying of teenagers - Albuquerque Journal

Autopsy reports lay out torture, slaying of teenagers

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Ahmed Lateef, 14

Two teenage boys were riddled with bullets, beaten and stabbed before being buried together in a shallow grave in Sandoval County late last year, according to autopsy reports released Friday afternoon.

Collin Romero, 15

Investigators said many of the bullets were fired through the boys’ arms and legs and weren’t fatal.

The findings by the Office of the Medical Investigator paint a grisly picture of the murders of Ahmed Lateef, 14, and Collin Romero, 15, and back up an Albuquerque police detective’s descriptions that the boys were tortured before they were killed. The bodies were discovered on Dec. 29 in the remote mesa west of Rio Rancho by a cadaver dog and Sandoval County deputies. They had been missing for two weeks.

Anthony Aragon, 36

“What these monsters did to my son and his best friend, (they) will have to answer one way or another,” Collin’s mother, Amanda Romero, told the Journal on Friday. “They may have stolen their lives, but they can’t take the 15 years we had with them.”

Anthony Aragon, 36, faces two counts of tampering with evidence in the boys’ burial, but murder charges have not been filed in their deaths.

Stephen Goldman, 19

“Due to the complexity of the case detectives are working on all investigative leads prior to filing charges,” Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Friday. “We are working hand in hand with prosecutors of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office to ensure a quality case is made available for prosecution.”

The homicides will be added to last year’s total, bringing the tally of 2018 slayings to 68.

Nineteen-year-old Stephen Goldman has been implicated but not charged in this case.

During a March 1 detention hearing in an unrelated case, APD detective Jessie Carter testified that Goldman – who also goes by “Sunshine” and “Calypso” – played a direct role in the double homicide. Goldman is in jail in connection with an unrelated armed robbery and drive-by shooting.

Carter testified that Goldman and two others, who have not been identified, kidnapped Lateef and Romero after an Albuquerque drug deal went awry and drove them to a remote area, where they were tortured and killed.

According to the autopsy report, Lateef was shot 19 times, “eight of which were either lethal or potentially lethal.” He was shot nine times in the upper body and 10 times through his arms and legs. Lateef was also badly bruised, was cut in various places, and his teeth were broken.

Investigators say Romero was shot nine times, three in the head, once in the chest and four times in the foot, leg and shoulder. He was also beaten in the head and legs and stabbed in the knees.

Bullets of varying size were pulled from both bodies during the autopsies.

During his testimony, detective Carter said after the boys were killed they were left on the side of a dirt road and later collected by Aragon and others to be buried farther away in Sandoval County. He said the car used to transport the bodies was torched on tribal lands and he implicated Goldman’s father in the vehicle disposal.

Carter said Goldman fled to his sister’s home in Gresham, Ore., after the killings. Local police arrested him after a SWAT standoff. While in their custody, police say, Goldman had a notebook with lyrics describing the double homicides and “asking for forgiveness.”

“I don’t forgive and I definitely won’t forget,” Romero’s mother said. “It takes an evil person to do what they did and it’s just a reminder for us all that true evil walks amongst us. … It’s up to every citizen to put a stop to it.”

Lateef’s mother, Yasameen Alabdulaziz said that since her son’s death she sees a therapist, has been diagnosed with depression and takes numerous medications to battle it. Soon, she plans to move back to Iraq with Lateef’s younger brother and start from square one.

“I cry every day. All my life changed after that,” Alabdulaziz said. “I don’t have a job, I don’t have anything. Everything is too hard for me.”

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