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Editorial: Two tragic criminal acts that cry out to be solved

They are two very different crimes. But both are tragic and shocking. And in both cases the public can help bring the perpetrators to justice.

The first is a hit-and-run crash near Tramway and Academy in the Northeast Heights about 10:45 a.m. June 18 that seriously injured Rio Rancho High School basketball players Amaya Payne and Georgia Salata. The girls were heading home after hiking on the La Luz trail with teammates when another car ran a red light and T-boned the new car Salata, who was driving, had received the day before as a 16th birthday present.

Salata’s father, Wally, the RRHS boys basketball coach, reported that his daughter suffered fractures in her neck and upper body, among other injuries that put her in the Intensive Care Unit. Payne was trapped in the vehicle for at least 30 minutes until firefighters extricated her.

An unidentified man stayed with her while she was trapped despite fluids leaking from the wrecked vehicle. Payne, who suffered broken bones, underwent 4½ hours of surgery and needed a blood transfusion.

Thankfully, both girls are recovering.

Two young men in the vehicle that hit them were seen fleeing the scene on foot. An Albuquerque Police Department spokesman said officers “searched for the individuals but were not able to locate them.” Their vehicle was sealed and towed as part of the investigation.

We urge anyone with information about the suspects to contact APD.

The second crime is an incident so depraved it’s difficult to comprehend.

In the early hours of June 25, a 10-year-old Welsh pony nicknamed “Rocky” was killed in his paddock in Corrales. The perpetrators then butchered the pony, removing portions of his body from the premises.

A champion hunter jumper, Rocky’s real calling was as a pleasure-riding pony whose calm disposition and curious nature stole everyone’s hearts. That’s according to a release from Albuquerque Metropolitan Crime Stoppers, which announced Friday that the reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible has been raised to $10,000.

Anyone with helpful information who would like to see Rocky’s killers in handcuffs should call 505-843-STOP or submit tips at

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.