Autopsy: Sisters, children found on Santa Ana Pueblo died of hypothermia

Leticia George and Vanessa George
Pictured: Leticia George & Vanessa George

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – At one point, their deaths were considered a mystery. Two sisters and their three children vanished. All five were found dead on the Santa Ana Pueblo in freezing temperatures.

The FBI says foul play is not involved, but a slew of paperwork from the Office of the Medical Investigator sheds light on their deadly demise.

Two sisters, Vanessa and Leticia George, and their young daughters, 4-year-old Zoey, 15-month-old Chloe and 3-year-old Haleigh, took their last breaths on the Santa Ana Pueblo.

Their trip in their pickup to the remote, rugged area in freezing temps would be their last drive.

Back in January, authorities searched day and night, fearing the worst, calling their sudden disappearance suspicious.

The grown sisters and three children were in danger, but not at the hands of any criminal.

According to five reports released Tuesday by OMI, according to the death investigation preliminary information showed the purpose of being in this location was to perform a cleansing ritual.

But that’s just the beginning.

All five were found without any clothing. Their autopsies concluded that all died from at least hypothermia.

Haleigh, the 3-year-old, also starved to death. Chloe at 15 months, found under a bush, suffered from dehydration and had two adult bite marks on her.

The manner of death for 19-year-old Leticia and 25-year-old Vanessa George was ruled “accident.” But for the tiniest of the victims, the pathologists determined this was death by homicide because each girl was “unable to extricate herself from a dangerous situation.”

The toxicology tests reveal no alcohol, illegal drugs or commonly abused prescription drugs in any of the adults or children.

During the search, authorities initially were looking for Vanessa George’s estranged boyfriend, and the father of her two daughters. At the time, he had a recent domestic violence arrest, but ultimately was cleared in this case.

The FBI released the following statement about the investigation Tuesday:

An investigation headed by the FBI found no evidence of foul play by another party. The FBI, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Albuquerque Police Department, New Mexico State Police, Santa Ana Police and Conservation Departments, Jemez Pueblo Police Department, Navajo Nation Criminal Investigation Section and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office were involved in the investigation. 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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