Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Las Cruces Slayings Back In Spotlight
By Rene Romo
Journal Southern Bureau
LAS CRUCES Fourteen years after the infamous bowling alley "massacre" that left one adult and three children dead in an apparent robbery, victims' relatives are still seeking answers.
Police on Monday on the eve of today's anniversary of the 1990 slayings released updated sketches of two unidentified men considered suspects in the crime at Las Cruces Bowl, now known as Sun Lanes.
Andrew Teran, who lost a brother and two nieces in the crime, on Monday made his annual visit to Las Cruces to mark the slayings' anniversary and to spark public awareness of the case and try to jar loose a helpful tip.
"Please come forward," Teran spoke into television news cameras in a plea to anyone with useful information about the case. "You don't have to tell us who you are; you can do it anonymously. But we ask you, we continue to ask you, please step forward."
Witnesses said that on the morning of Feb. 10, 1990, two men walked into the Las Cruces Bowl, forced seven people to lie face down on the floor inside an office and shot each one in the back of the head. The men took an undisclosed amount of money from an office safe and set the office on fire before fleeing.
Four of the shooting victims died, but one of the survivors, a 12-year-old girl, managed to call police from the office.
Las Cruces Police Det. Mark Myers said he is optimistic the case can be resolved if someone steps forward with the right bit of information.
"We just haven't got the right piece of information. Every lead has been aggressively and thoroughly followed up on," Myers said. "We just haven't got the piece of that puzzle that will put us on the right track."
Killed in the Las Cruces Bowl "massacre," as the slayings came to be called, were 26-year-old bowling alley employee Steve Teran, his 6-year-old stepdaughter Paula Holguin and 2-year-old daughter Valerie Teran. Also killed was 13-year-old Amy Houser, a friend of the bowling alley owner's family.
Steve Teran was Audrey Teran's husband and the two littlest victims her children. Audrey Teran, who works at an El Paso supermarket, said Valentine's Day, when the three were buried, is always the hardest anniversary for her.
She said the slayings have permanently changed her, made her extra protective of her two other children a 5-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. And time has not necessarily healed all her wounds.
"Maybe the public is tired of hearing about it," she said of the annual pleas for new tips. Indicating photos of the slain children, she said, "Look at those two little girls. He (the killer) looked at them, right in the eye, and killed them. How could we let it go?"