Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Laura Hanish worked as a social worker for decades and was the type of person who always found the good in people regardless of their mistakes.
Her 19-year-old daughter, Shanta, was an avid swimmer and a University of New Mexico junior who was pursuing a degree in teaching.
The mother and daughter, who were described as each other’s champions, were found slain in their Southeast Albuquerque home Friday morning, according to the Law Offices of the Public Defender, where Laura Hanish, 58, worked.
Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik said detectives are investigating.
He said the bodies were discovered around 9 a.m. inside the house in the 2900 block of Monterey SE, near Girard, after an employer went to check on one of them. He said one of the victims hadn’t shown up for work, so a boss went to the house, saw the bodies through a window and called police.
“Officers cleared the scene for safety and backed out,” he said.
He declined to identify the victims, say how they died or if anyone is in custody.
The LOPD, where Laura Hanish worked as a social worker for nearly 25 years, released a statement saying it is devastated by the loss.
“We want to share our grief with her surviving family and the hundreds of people she’s healed and loved over her life of fearless, graceful, and powerful service,” the agency said.
As a social worker with LOPD’s major crimes unit, Hanish dug into some of the most notorious cases in New Mexico’s history.
She worked closely with mass murderer John Hyde, Clovis library shooter Nathaniel Jouett and Nehemiah Griego, who killed five members of his own family. But those are only a few of the hundreds of clients Hanish sat with, sifting through their lives, traumas and childhoods, helping build their defense.
“She took the time to find each person’s good and love them for it,” her coworkers said.
Hanish had planned to retire this year and travel through Europe.
Colleagues said her daughter was “the light of her life.”
“The two shared everything and were so close, the kind of relationship a parent hopes to have with their child as they grow older,” LOPD said in its release.
Jacquelyn “Jax” Sanchez, a teacher who worked as Shanta’s academic adviser at Amy Biehl High School, said Shanta had an incredible work ethic.
“When Shanta would walk into the room, her smile and positive outlook on life would uplift others,” Sanchez told the Journal. “Shanta was a dedicated swimmer who competed at state competitions and worked as a city lifeguard. She was dedicated to her swimming and her academics.”
Crime scene tape cordoned off Monterey, between Girard and Dartmouth, for much of the day as several police vehicles lined the streets. Investigators milled around on the street as two mobile crime labs pulled onto the scene.
Laura Hanish’s colleagues are reeling from the loss but they insist that she would have compassion for the person responsible.
“We are certain beyond a doubt that she would not want the person who did this to her and Shanta to be demonized,” LOPD said in its release.
Journal staff writer Dan McKay contributed to this report.