SANTA FE — A man who police say jumped in the Pecos River last week while fleeing from officers had still not been located as of late Tuesday as his family continued to desperately search for him.
Brian Encinias, 46, ran from State Police officers around 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Pecos and jumped into the river, State Police said in a statement.
“Officers quickly lost sight of Encinias as the high flow of the river took him downstream,” the statement said.
Encinias’ brother told the Journal that an officer told him Encinias’ body was seen floating upside down after the incident a short distance downstream.
Officer Ray Wilson said in an email that officers were investigating a larceny case in the area and were pursuing a Hispanic male suspect on foot. While searching they encountered Encinias, who matched the description of the larceny suspect but was not the man they were looking for.
Officers recognized Encinias and knew he had an active arrest warrant, so they tried to make contact with him, Wilson said.
“Encinias fled on foot and officers began pursuing him on foot,” Wilson wrote. “Encinias fled towards the river and jumped in. Officers quickly lost sight of Encinias as the high flow of the river took him downstream.”
Peter Encinias, Brian Encinias’ brother, told the Journal Tuesday that he believes Brian may have jumped in the river in the Rincon area because officers had either guns or tasers drawn on him.
“He wouldn’t have jumped in the river unless he was intimidated,” Peter Encinias said. “My brother knew better.”
Officer Wilson said emergency response personnel and the State Police dive team searched downstream for Encinias. Officers could not use a drone due to rain, but a State Police aircraft was supposed to search the river Tuesday.
“This case is still under investigation and officers do not know where Encinias currently is,” Wilson said.
Peter Encinias said an officer told him that he saw Brian floating in the river while the officer was standing on a bridge about 400 feet down from where Brian jumped in.
Other than that information, Peter said he’s been having a hard time getting answers from State Police as to what happened and says officers aren’t doing enough to find the body.
“It doesn’t seem like they want to help us very much, you know,” he said.
Brian Encinias had a warrant stemming from a traffic stop in January in which he was managed to flee from officers. The arrest warrant charges him with several counts including resisting arrest and driving on a revoked license.
Peter said his brother was not perfect, but the family wants to find him so he can be put to rest.
“My brother was no saint,” Peter said. “He had a drug problem, but he didn’t bother anybody.”
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