Police accused of not investigating possible murder

GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) – His beaten body was found in an abandoned building three and a half years ago.

Now, the police chief is getting an earful as people in his town and the mayor of his town want to know if the police department is getting to the bottom of it.

Police say they have investigated this death but won’t say how.

The brother of the man who died says that is because police haven’t done anything.

“It saddens me to say that he was treated like disposable garbage and just dumped and beaten to death,” William Campbell said of his brother, David.

David was 27-years-old when his body was found at the abandoned jailhouse in Grants the night after Christmas in 2010.

A police report noted fresh tire tracks next to David’s body.

An autopsy report detailed scrapes, bruises and cuts all over his body, but with no explanation for the injuries OMI ruled the death an accident, saying David died of alcoholism.

William said that’s because Grants Police didn’t do their job.

“I am very frustrated,” William said. “I’ve taken a major loss with my family, and I want justice and accountability.”

William said, from the start, police never treated his brother’s death as a murder—that they never did a proper investigation.

KRQE asked police Tuesday if it is being investigated as a homicide.

“I don’t necessarily know how we would actually classify it because of the ongoing investigation,” said Lt. John Castaneda with the Grants Police Department.

The city is also putting pressure on police.

“It is a homicide,” Mayor Martin Hicks said at a city council meeting last week.

“It’s not determined a homicide yet,” Lt. Castaneda responded.

“When you look at these photos, John, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Mayor Hicks said.

The mayor laid into the police chief and the chief detective on the case.

“The work that’s been done is very sorry, very shoddy and the excuses I’ve been given don’t fly,” Hicks said.

Police said they have had manpower issues but wouldn’t say what they have done on the case since David’s death.

“Well, I can’t get into specifics of what we’ve done but we continue to work it,” Lt. Castaneda said.

He wouldn’t say if there are any suspects.

“Yeah, just once again, we’re working very diligently with the DA’s office. I’ve been in contact with their office daily on the case,” Lt. Castaneda said.

The District Attorney’s office gave police a list of things it needs from the department if it is ever going to charge someone for David’s death, including evidence that still needs to be sent to a crime lab.

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