Rio Rancho police have identified the woman who was killed, loaded into the backseat of a car and driven around Albuquerque Sunday morning, as well as her boyfriend, who is charged with an open count of murder in connection with her death.
Matthew Chavez, 23, was arrested Sunday after driving around Albuquerque while talking to law enforcement. The victim was identified as Jordan Gallegos, 22.
A pretrial services assessment recommended Chavez be released on his own recognizance, in part because he doesn’t have any violent convictions, according to court filings. Pretrial release for suspects in serious crimes has been a point of debate in the Albuquerque area and around New Mexico in recent years. There is a bill being considered by lawmakers in the ongoing legislative session to make more defendants eligible for pretrial detention.
Officials with the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office didn’t return calls for comment about the recommendation on Monday.
Shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday, Chavez went to a home in Rio Rancho and told his brother-in-law that he shot his girlfriend, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Magistrate Court in Sandoval County. He left the area before police arrived and began driving around the Albuquerque area, according to a press release from the Rio Rancho Police Department. He had told several family members that he had shot his girlfriend, according to the affidavit.
Police were able to call Chavez on his cellphone as he was driving around Albuquerque.
“Matthew said initially that no one else was with him and that he did not need an ambulance nor did the person who was with him because he believed they were already gone,” a Rio Rancho detective wrote in the affidavit.
Chavez ultimately agreed to return to Rio Rancho, where he parked at the Premiere 14 movie theater. There, police took him into custody and found Gallegos’ body in the backseat covered in blankets. Police said blood was pooling in the car and Chavez had red stains that appeared to be blood on his clothes, shoes and hands.
He declined to speak with detectives. It wasn’t clear Monday if he had an attorney.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said on Twitter that Gallegos was a city of Albuquerque employee.
“Jordan was dedicated to helping young people through her work as a City employee, positively impacting our community everyday,” the mayor said. “We are keeping her family and friends in our hearts during this time.”