Man arrested in 2011 El Rancho murders

Nicholas Ortiz
Nicholas Ortiz

SANTA FE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly four years after three family members were found murdered with a pick ax, State Police announced they’ve arrested the man suspected of the triple homicide.

Nicholas Ortiz, 20, of Pojoaque was charged with three counts of murder, tampering with evidence, and bribery or intimidation of a witness.

On Father’s Day 2011, Lloyd and Dixie Ortiz along with their 21-year-old son Steven were found murdered with a pick-axe in their El Rancho home.

Although Nicholas Ortiz shares the same last name with the victims, KRQE News 13 has learned he’s not related to the family.

The murders shocked and terrified the community of El Rancho near Espanola.

As the years went on, the family’s pleas for any leads in the case grew more desperate.

“It’s really hard when this holiday comes around because it’s just it brings back that memory of when I got that phone call,” daughter Angela told KRQE News 13 in 2013. “It’s the last thing that anybody ever wants to hear.”

So far, State Police have released few details as to how he knew them or a possible motive.

For the small community, the arrest is the news they’ve waited for, for nearly four years. But it was met with mixed emotion.

“I think to find out that he was the person that did it, I think that people are more shocked than relieved,” said Aaliyah Gonzales, who attended school with Nicholas. “But people are relieved that they actually found out who did it.”

Nicholas would have been 16 or 17 at the time of the murders.

State Police said they’ll be releasing more details next week.

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