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Gandert murder gets national airing

Annie Rael, being escorted out of Albuquerque Police Department headquarters in May 2018, was charged with an open count of murder in connection with the death of Marilyn Gandert. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 2018 murder of Marilyn Gandert is getting national exposure through the TV network Investigation Discovery and its series, “The Murder Tapes.”

The episode is titled “Fire in the Desert,” and will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26.

In January 2018, the Albuquerque mail carrier disappeared for several days. Her brother, Harry Gandert, and best friend, Nancy Robinson, worried, wondering where the solitary homebody could have gone.

“I didn’t want to think of the worst, and I’m afraid to get to the point that something bad happened to her,” Harry Gandert said in the episode.

“The more time passes that this person is gone, it could also mean more time passes that they could be injured, harmed or pass away,” Albuquerque Police Department detective Lorenzo Apodaca said.

When a burned body is found in the desert, friends and relatives are shocked, and a challenging investigation begins to discover what happened and who is responsible.

Detectives chase scant leads with no clear motive as to why anyone would kill Marilyn Gandert.

As investigators questioned witnesses, including relatives vacating a rental property that belonged to Marilyn Gandert, they find clues amid the stories they are told that lead them to the shocking truth.

Alissa Bickett, 43, and Annie Rael, 28, were each charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence in connection with 65-year-old Gandert’s death.

Police say Gandert evicted Rael, Bickett, Veronica Patterson and Bickett’s son, Drake, from her Northwest Albuquerque home on Jan. 23, 2018, and the two women killed her inside the home on Jan. 26. Afterward, they took her body to a remote area of Sandoval County and set it on fire.

Rael was sentenced to 12 years in prison in June 2019.

Bickett was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing Marilyn Gandert, her late husband’s mother, in July 2019.

And Drake Bickett was sentenced to 26 years for second-degree murder and conspiracy.

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