ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police have finished a 14-month-old investigation into a drive-by shooting that left a high school student dead by charging a suspect they believe is likely the final person in the case.
Esias Frank Madrid, 18, was rebooked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Wednesday on suspicion of an open count of murder for the fatal shooting of Jaydon Chavez-Silver, 17. A criminal complaint said witnesses have told police that Madrid fired into a home from the back seat of a car in June 2015.
Officer Tanner Tixier, a police spokesman, said the department now considers the Chavez-Silver homicide investigation “cleared by arrest” and doesn’t plan on filing additional charges in the death of the Manzano High School student.
Madrid was already in custody on a separate murder charge from December when 18-year Arturo Villa was shot and killed over a fight after a game of beer pong.
Metropolitan Court Judge Linda Rogers during Madrid’s first appearance Thursday ordered that he be held on an additional $1 million bail, cash only, for the Chavez-Silver slaying. Madrid is already being held without bail in the beer-pong case.
The judge said Madrid’s “brief but exciting criminal history” was reason for the high bond. It was not clear if Madrid has an attorney for Chavez-Silver case. The investigation into Chavez-Silver’s slaying has lasted for more than 14 months.
Two suspects originally charged with murder had their charges dismissed.
Several of the witnesses police used during the investigation had ties to other homicides and other shootings in Albuquerque in recent years, according to a criminal complaint.
According to the complaint against Madrid, witnesses told police that both he and Nicholas Gonzales fired into a window in a drive-by that targeted a house party in Northeast Albuquerque.
The two were trying to shoot someone who lived at the home on Nakomis NE for a fight earlier that summer. Chavez-Silver, a successful high school student athlete who had been accepted into the Air Force Academy, was an innocent bystander who was not the target of the shooters, according to police. They were targeting a man who lived in the home.
Madrid, Gonzales and Dominic Conyers were among those charged in Chavez-Silver’s death. Gonzales, 16, the youngest of three suspects, pleaded guilty to lesser offenses.
Nicole Chavez-Lucero, Jaydon’s mother, said she was hopeful that the recent arrest brings her closer to getting justice for her son. But she said there’s a long list of court dates she and her family will have to sit through before that happens.
“I am hopeful that this is the beginning of the end of this process,” she said. “I’m waiting to finally get justice for Jaydon.”
Two of the original defendants first arrested in the case were released from jail after the charges against them were dropped in June.
Donovan Maez and Christopher Cruz were originally arrested on suspicion of murder in the case. But a court filing says there was not enough evidence to against the two men, and the charges were dropped in the “interests of justice.”
Maez is the son of former state Rep. Stephanie Maez, D-Albuquerque, who resigned after her son’s arrest.
Maez, through his attorney, has sent the city a tort claims notice letting the city know he is considering filing a lawsuit. He spent more than 10 months in jail before the case was dismissed.
“Clearly, there were some issues with the first of the arrests, and we’re re-examining what happened there,” said Tixier, who credited the department’s homicide detectives for working over a year to clear the case.