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In September 2019, when she filed a petition for a restraining order, Eva Montoya wrote that her boyfriend – the father of her then 8-year-old daughter – pushed her, hit her, and told her “If you leave me, I’ll kill you.”
On Monday, police say, he did kill her.
Police say shortly before 9 a.m., Matthew Montoya shot 50-year-old Eva Montoya multiple times in the parking lot of a Northeast Albuquerque strip mall. She was taken to the hospital, where she died.
Hours later detectives with the Albuquerque Police Department’s Investigative Services Division tried to arrest Matthew Montoya, 52, in a neighborhood near the Sandia foothills and ended up shooting and killing him.
At a preliminary briefing Monday evening, APD’s interim first deputy chief Michael Smathers said detectives had found Matthew Montoya’s silver minivan in the driveway of a house on Chelwood NE, near Palo Duro, approached the van, and “an officer involved shooting took place during that contact.” Smathers said the detectives had not yet been interviewed and he didn’t know if Matthew Montoya had pointed or fired a gun at them. He said a gun was found in his van.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said he believes the detectives were wearing lapel cameras during the shooting. APD typically provides more complete briefings of police shootings weeks after an incident occurs.
Gallegos said he cannot comment on the history between Matthew and Eva Montoya, since detectives are still investigating.
Although Smathers referred to Eva as Matthew’s “estranged wife” Monday, and they share the same last name, it’s unclear whether the two are legally married. In her petition for the restraining order, Eva Montoya crossed out “husband” and instead referred to Matthew Montoya as “the parent of my child” and “boyfriend.”
Matthew Montoya’s older daughter declined to comment, and neither his parents nor Eva Montoya’s parents returned calls from the Journal on Tuesday.
Court documents paint a picture of a relationship that finally unraveled a little over a year ago, but trouble seems to have started before that.
In 2016, Matthew Montoya was charged with larceny for reportedly stealing $100 from his niece’s purse when she was visiting his parents’ home in the Sandia foothills. Although his niece said Matthew Montoya wasn’t violent or threatening violence she said he “is a drug user and took the money for drugs.” That case was dismissed when the witness didn’t appear for court.
In February 2019, police were called to the same house for reports that Matthew Montoya had battered his mother by poking her with his hands, shoved his father down into a table, injuring him, and grabbed his pregnant teenage daughter and her boyfriend by the arms. He was charged with misdemeanor battery against a household member but the case was dismissed pending further investigation.
Then, on Sept. 7, 2019, Eva Montoya called police to report her own incident.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, a disagreement over the way Matthew Montoya was teasing their daughter escalated into him physically attacking Eva Montoya. She said he “grabbed her bluetooth headphone off her neck” leaving a bruise, “threw her against the wall” and left with her cellphone.
Eva Montoya told officers she followed Matthew Montoya into the garage and asked multiple times for her phone back. Instead he pushed her, struck her, and then got in the minivan to leave, according to the complaint.
“Eva told me Matthew began to back up the minivan which pinned her closer into the cars,” the officer wrote in the complaint. “Due to Eva being pinned into both vehicles, Eva sustained a quarter size bruise on her left arm, an approximately four inch scratch on her right arm and a quarter size bruise on her right leg.”
She said as Matthew Montoya drove away, he threw her cellphone at her face and accused her of wanting to use it “to call your boyfriend.”
This case was dismissed in February when the officer didn’t appear for trial, but the incident seems to have prompted Eva Montoya to leave the relationship.
Six days after the incident, she filed the petition for an order of protection from domestic abuse in which she said he had threatened to kill her. She said there has been emotional and verbal abuse and he had been violent before. However, she said, he did not have any firearms.
About a month later, Eva Montoya filed a petition asking for sole legal custody of the couple’s 8-year-old daughter. She said the father abuses alcohol and drugs, has an untreated mental illness (bipolar, manic/depressive disorder), is not employed, has no housing, poor family support, poor anger management and poor parenting skills.
In August, the restraining order case was dismissed at the request of the two parties and the custody case was reopened, with the stipulation that Eva and Matthew Montoya were not to contact each other “except to discuss matters regarding minor child, such as time sharing exchanges, schooling, and religious activities.”
The order states that Eva Montoya must return their daughter to New Mexico 14 days before school starts in the fall.
On Monday, police say Matthew Montoya went to his daughter’s school and tried to pick her up. The staff was aware of the problems the Montoyas had been having and wouldn’t let him.
Hours later, he was killed by detectives.
Editor’s note: this story was updated to reflect that the restraining order was dismissed at the request of the parties.