NM officials search for more victims of convicted killer

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Paul Lovett has been convicted of killing two New Mexico women. Now investigators want to know if he has other victims throughout the country.

Elizabeth Garcia was working at an Allsups in Hobbs in January 2002 when the mother of three vanished. Her body was later found in a field. She had been stabbed 57 times.

Then in May 2003, Patty Simon’s body was discovered by oilfield workers in Hobbs.

Investigators connected the dots and the cases.

Paul Lovett was convicted in 2007 of two counts of first degree murder. Five years later, the New Mexico Supreme Court reversed the conviction in Garcia’s murder saying the trials should not have been combined.

Late this April, Lovett was again convicted of first degree murder in Garcia’s case.

“This was an extremely brutal crime,” Davis Ruark, the chief deputy district attorney, told KRQE News 13 over the phone. “The net effect is that Paul Lovett should never be released from prison and will serve the rest of his life as a result of the crimes he committed against the two women.”

It’s a long time coming for Garcia’s family. Now Ruark says they’re seeing if they can help give other families closure.

“It’s one of these instances where shortly after Elizabeth was murdered, Paul Lovett took off from New Mexico and traveled to Lafayette, Louisiana,” Ruark said.

Ruark said the D.A.’s office has asked agencies across New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana to contact them if they have any unsolved murder cases from the time period involving women in their twenties and early thirties.

The D.A.’s office says no agency has reached out yet, but they won’t be surprised if someone does.

After Garcia was murdered, New Mexico set new regulations for overnight shifts at convenience stores. Garcia was the only person working the night she was murdered, and there were no surveillance cameras.

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