ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- Nearly two years after a well-known Albuquerque man was found dead in a drainage ditch near Belen, an arrest has finally been made.
“I don’t think that a lot of us have actually coped that he’s gone, it doesn’t feel like it’s been a year and a half, it doesn’t feel like he’s gone still,” said Megan Phelps.
Phelps knew Donte Shepherd for over 15 years before he was found dead in a drainage ditch. She said although an arrest has been made, it doesn’t make the pain go away.
“It finally feels like we’re finally gonna see justice,” said Phelps.
According to a criminal complaint, on January 28, 2017 a tipster told detectives Shepherd’s car had been stolen by a man from Valencia County.
The complaint then states the tipster told police Shepherd located his car there where he got into a fight with a man, then got into the driver’s seat of his car, not realizing Adrian Maestas was in the back seat.
Shepherd was shot in the back of the head, the complaint says.
“Donte was just one person to the world, but to so many people he meant so much,” said Phelps.
According to the complaint, Shepherd was put in the trunk of the car and driven to an Albuquerque home on Girard where two women were picked up.
Shepherd’s body was later found in a drainage ditch near Belen. His car was found on Wisconsin Street days later.
Phelps said she and Shepherd’s family never lost hope thanks to the detective on the case.
“Detective Harris was dogged in his investigation and he never gave up, when I think a lot of people may have,” said Phelps.
DNA evidence found in Shepherd’s car linked Maestas to the crime. He is now charged with murder, among other charges.
It’s something Phelps and Shepherd’s family have been waiting for.
“We’ve all had a real tough time trying to cope, it kind of feels like there may be kind of a finality,” she said.
Maestas is being held on a $500,000 cash only bond.