ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The news gave Amanda Romero a sense of relief. But one undercut with sadness.
“They grew up together and were best friends till the end,” she said of her son, Collin Romero, 15, and Ahmed Lateef, 14. “In a weird way I’m thankful neither of them died alone.”
On Thursday, a 2nd Judicial District grand jury indicted four individuals police have identified as key players in the Dec. 16 double slaying of Romero and Lateef.
“The battle is far from over, but these charges are a big step forward toward ensuring that these suspects know that we are capable of obtaining justice,” Romero told the Journal.
Stephen “Calypso” Goldman Jr., 20, Jimmie “Flex” Atkins, 23, and 15-year-old Julio Fabian “FaFa” Almentero are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and three counts of tampering with evidence.
Stephen Goldman Sr., 43, is charged with two counts of tampering with evidence.
All four are currently behind bars.
Lateef and Romero were reported missing on Dec. 16 after Snapchat videos surfaced of the boys being beaten on the mesa. Two weeks later, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office found their bodies buried in shallow graves in the mesa northwest of Rio Rancho. Lateef had been shot 19 times; Romero nine times. Both teens had been beaten.
Police say Goldman Jr., Atkins and Almentero kidnapped the boys during a drug deal gone wrong and drove them into the mesa before beating and killing them.
Afterward, according to police, Goldman Sr. told his son and Atkins that they needed to burn the car used in the slayings. Laguna police found the car on the west mesa engulfed in flames.
Almentero’s uncle, 37-year-old Anthony Aragon, is not named in the indictment but is also charged with two counts of tampering with evidence in connection with the boys’ deaths.
Lateef and Romero were reported missing on Dec. 16 and found buried in shallow graves in the mesa northwest of Rio Rancho a couple of weeks later. Lateef had been shot 19 times and Romero had been shot nine times. Both teens had been beaten.
Police say Aragon helped the suspects clean up after the homicides and get rid of the teens’ bodies, burying them.
Aragon is currently behind bars in Las Vegas, Nevada, on unrelated charges.