Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Slain Man Catches Attention of Police
By Jeff Proctor and T.J. Wilham
Copyright © 2006 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writers
Investigators are trying to determine whether there is a connection between a man they say lured to and fatally strangled a woman inside his South Valley mobile home and several missing prostitutes in Bernalillo County.
Police describe the death of 19-year-old Shericka Hill as "brutal," "orchestrated" and "very violent."
The alleged killer, identified as Lorenzo Montoya, 39 subsequently shot to death by Hill's boyfriend has a history of picking up prostitutes and allegedly raped and choked one of them.
Hill's killing has gotten the attention of the city's top cops.
"There is good probability that this isn't the first time (Montoya) has done a crime like this," Police Chief Ray Schultz said. "This is too brutal of a crime to be his first one."
Police say the woman's boyfriend, Fredrick Williams, 18, had waited outside Montoya's mobile home while Hill "performed a dance." They say Williams went to check on the woman after about an hour and shot Montoya during a confrontation.
In one previous incident, Montoya was arrested after allegedly raping and choking a prostitute, according to court records. The case was later dismissed.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White shares Schultz's concerns. His detectives are looking into a possible connection between Montoya and two active missing persons cases involving women.
"We are all very concerned about it," White said. "This isn't the type of crime where you wake up one morning and just decide that you are going to brutally murder someone."
Moreover, APD detectives said they are investigating whether Montoya may be responsible for "several" prostitutes who have been reported missing since 2001.
Local authorities are also casting a wider net: checking with out-of-state law enforcement agencies for similar crimes.
According to police, the incident unfolded as follows on Sunday, beginning around 2 a.m.:
Montoya and Hill began a conversation in a chat room and agreed to meet in person. During the meeting, they arranged for Hill to go to Montoya's mobile home in the 4000 block of Blake SW and perform a dance for him.
On her way to the mobile home, Hill picked up Williams. The pair parked a short distance away, and Hill went inside.
After waiting about an hour Williams, who was armed, became concerned and went to check on Hill. Outside the mobile home, he encountered Montoya, who brandished a gun.
Feeling "threatened," Williams fired at least one shot, killing Montoya.
Police haven't determined whether Montoya shot at Williams.
Williams went inside to check on Hill, where he found her bound with duct tape and strangled.
Investigators are awaiting results of an autopsy to determine whether Hill had been sexually assaulted.
"You don't see this type of violent act committed the way it was," Schultz said. "It seemed like he knew what he was doing. It was very well planned and orchestrated, and that is what is worrisome about this."
According to court records, Montoya was arrested in 1999 on rape and kidnapping charges after he allegedly picked up a prostitute and sexually assaulted her inside his truck.
Afterward, Montoya slammed the woman against her seat, put his hands around her throat and choked her.
The 23-year-old prostitute told police she couldn't breathe and thought Montoya "was going to kill her." The woman also said it appeared that Montoya was "enjoying choking her."
The case was dismissed without prejudice in Metropolitan Court but was never refiled.
Montoya has also been arrested twice in 1998 and 2005 on suspicion of patronizing a prostitute.
Albuquerque Police Sgt. Carlos Argueta said the investigation into Sunday's double homicide and Montoya's past will continue despite Montoya's death.
He said several APD units including sex crimes, vice and cold case are assisting. Specifically, detectives are combing through old homicide, rape and missing persons files looking for similarities to Sunday's slaying.
"We are looking at this from all different angles," Argueta said. "In the next few weeks, we are going to be dissecting every part of this person's background."