ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a gruesome scene, blood all over a motel room, a woman’s body in a van, but charges against her accused killer have been dropped while investigators put together their case. Now, people are worried that police have no idea where that suspect is.
Mark Chavez was charged with murdering Tammie Cessna in cold blood last month. Weeks after his arrest, charges against him were dropped due to what the District Attorney’s office claims is a lack of evidence.
“I know that he killed my sister,” said Wendy Cessna.
Court documents state Cessna’s body was found badly beaten from head to toe, and disfigured inside her van which had been parked at the Super 8 motel in Moriarity, where her boyfriend, Chavez, lived and worked as the maintenance man.
Cessna’s body was discovered in the van five days after police impounded it as evidence, as they searched for the missing woman.
A search warrant paints a bloody scene in Chavez’s room at the motel, including bloody gloves, a butane torch, rope and a bloody towel.
Police said Cessna had self defense marks, and that Chavez had scratches consistent with fingernails on him. Since his release, sources told KRQE News 13 they’ve seen Chavez back at the Super 8 motel where his truck still sits.
KRQE News 13 asked the motel owner if Chavez still works there.
“He’s not here,” the motel owner insisted. He claims Chavez hasn’t been back to the Super 8 since his release from custody.
KRQE News 13 also paid multiple visits to the Moriarity Police Department, but the chief refused to call back, or say if police know where Chavez is.
The motel owner said Chavez is somewhere in Albuquerque, but said he’s not sure exactly where. Not knowing Chavez’ whereabouts is very concerning for the victim’s family.
“Because he was with her and the blood in his room, him having marks on him, just everything all together points right back to him,” said Cessna.
The motel owner said Chavez’s truck is broken down, his room cleared out. So if he’s not at the motel, it’s unclear where he is.
“It’s pretty scary, so this guy’s just wandering around. Who knows where he is now?” said Wendy Kessinger, who helped search for Cessna. “I mean, it makes no sense. It’s horrible for this family, and now, then to let him go.”
The prosecuting attorney said his office doesn’t know where Chavez is and he assumes police know.
In the original arrest warrant, police said Chavez, who’s a meth user, had beaten the victim in the past, and had arrests for domestic violence.