Renewed push for clues in cold case murders of Maria Padilla and Susan LaPorte

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- He has waited decades and just wants answers. A son is pleading for clues into who murdered his mother and another woman in the 1980’s.

Maria Padilla and Susan LaPorte were both raped, killed and their bodies dumped. Police say one man is responsible for both crimes. They have his DNA, but still can’t find him.

It has been 30 years and counting since Padilla and LaPorte were taken from their families.

“Everything’s just gone, your whole world is gone, you know, it basically just wasn’t real to me, like it wasn’t happening, it was just like a dream, but it was real”, said Padilla’s Son, Mario Gurule.

Gurule was just seven, his brother 11, when their mother, Maria, didn’t come home. He says the pain has never gone away.

Gurule said, “It’s hard to try to even imagine for people who have never been through it.”

Both women were in their 20’s, attractive and found raped and murdered in remote locations. Padilla in the Bosque near Rio Bravo in May of 1985. LaPorte just six months later in a park in Santa Fe. Their cases were later linked by what the killer left behind, DNA. Fespite making that monumental mistake, police haven’t been able to catch him.

“Of all of the databases that are available to law enforcement, whether through felony arrests profiles for arrests through jails, we hadn’t been able to find a match,” said Lt. Pete Golden of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.

Detectives are convinced someone knows what happened.

“We’re hoping that someone in the public will see this broadcast and will remember a detail, even if it’s the most minuet detail,” said Golden in hopes of closing a painful chapter for two families left wondering for decades.

“If there’s anybody out there that knows anything at all, I mean, just do the right thing, you know,” said Gurule.

Investigators from both BCSO and Santa Fe Police have been working both cases. They say it’s unlikely the suspect has stopped committing crimes, but somehow his DNA hasn’t ended up in the national database.
Last July, Santa Fe Police cleaned out their evidence locker, sending thousands of items from other violent crimes to the state lab to be tested in hopes of finding a new clue in these cases. They’re still waiting for results. 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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