Stolen artwork returned to artist’s family

Momaday, Momaday art work,

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) –¬†From the creative hands of Kiowa Artist Al Momaday, to the hands of thieves and finally back to the Momaday family, four original prints were returned to them on Friday afternoon. The works were recovered by Albuquerque Police in February after an investigation on a drug house in Northeast Albuquerque. Investigators say the works were stolen from the Momaday estate in Santa Fe.

“I noticed this portfolio laying on the ground,” said Albuquerque Police Officer Martin Smith. “I opened it up and seen the artwork and knew the people that were there, had no lawful reason to have this type of artwork.”

The work, which has been valued at $33,000, was then turned over by police to the Albuquerque Museum. From there, workers contacted the Momaday family. Al’s granddaughter, Jill Momaday Gray was on hand to sign for the artwork.

“I don’t even want to think about what the possibilities could have been,” said Momaday Gray. “You know, I think that we were blessed that it came back to us. That it was found and it was all intact and in perfect condition the way I remember seeing it.”

Albuquerque Police say they are some known suspects tied with the drug house where the art was recovered, but so far no arrests have been made. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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