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Santa Fe murder suspect arrested in Albuquerque


James Garcia

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Officers arrested a Santa Fe man accused of murder following a short chase in Albuquerque Saturday morning, according to New Mexico State Police.

Dusty Francisco, a State Police spokesman, said James R. Garcia, 26, and Mercady Montoya, 27, were caught in Northeast Albuquerque after officers used a PIT, or pursuit intervention technique, to end a chase.

He said one officer received minor injuries in the incident.

On Friday, Santa Fe Police announced Garcia was charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Daniel Gisler, after Gisler’s remains were found in near a home on Calle Viejo in south Santa Fe. Gisler had been reported missing on Nov. 21.

Viktor Gisler, Daniel Gisler’s father, said Saturday afternoon he was waiting for his son’s body to be delivered from Albuquerque and had no information on how his son was injured. “I want to see my baby,” he said.

He said the body was found under a tarp. “Detectives think he was robbed,” he said.

“I was glad to be part of his life,” Viktor Gisler said. “He was a gift. It was only for 20 years.”

“It’s just sad and broken now,” the father added.


Mercady Montoya

Montoya, the driver of the car that was stopped by police in Albuquerque Saturday, was arrested for aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting, evading or obstructing a peace officer.

Francisco of the State Police said that around 9:30 a.m. officers tried to stop a car that Garcia was believed to be in on Forest Road 333, near Tramway Boulevard in Albuquerque. Montoya drove the car in reverse in an attempt to flee. “As officers gave verbal commands for Montoya to stop the vehicle, they observed Garcia inside the vehicle attempting to hide under blankets,” he said.

Francisco said a pursuit began after Montoya didn’t stop and almost struck an officer as she sped off. Officers used the PIT maneuver to stop the chase.

Santa Fe police said Gisler’s car was found near his remains on Calle Viejo. Police also searched a home in the 2700 block of Calle Anna Jean, west of Santa Fe High, and a home on Pueblo Pintado. Seven people interviewed at Calle Anna Jean were arrested on unrelated warrants.

Viktor Gisler said the day Daniel went missing, the son made phone calls to relatives, but that his phone went dead before anyone could call back. Friends found it strange he didn’t respond to texts. “He disappeared like a ghost,” Viktor Gisler said.


Daniel Gisler, 20, of Santa Fe.

The son’s car had been seen “up north” after Daniel disappeared, Viktor said. His voice broke up as he described searching for his son in Española, Eldorado, the Santa Fe ski basin and local parks.

He said he and son enjoyed biking, hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities and had traveled together to see family in Switzerland. He said his son was “almost too nice” and could be gullible. A diamond necklace that Daniel was proud of is missing, the father said.

Garcia has a history of threatening violence toward family members. According to a criminal complaint, in January 2018 Garcia threatened to kill his aunt and her family and to set their house on the fire after the woman confronted him about stolen gift cards. He pleaded guilty to three counts of assault for the incident, court records show.

In September the same aunt filed a restraining order against Garcia because he had threatened to shoot her and her family. In June 2017, Garcia’s father called police because Garcia stole his brother’s laptop. The next day, Garcia’s brother again called police and said Garcia had said he “going to kill him” and slit his throat, a criminal complaint says. The brother also told police that Garcia told him “he had killed multiple people before.”

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