Nine years after the bodies of eleven women were found in a mass grave in West Mesa, Albuquerque, police have returned this week with news of more bones being found less than 400 metres (a ¼ mile) from the original grave site.
Construction workers were excavating an area when the new discovery was made.
Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier told CBS News “We’re not 100 percent sure that this is related but at this point we’re treating it as if it’s similar to the first round. It’s definitely a little bit of déjà vu – it looks different, but it feels the same.“
In February 2009 a woman walking her dog discovered a human leg bone protruding from the ground. Police spent weeks combing the area and in total the bodies of eleven women were unearthed. Nearly all of the victims worked as prostitutes and had disappeared between 2001 and 2005. Their ages ranged from 15 to thirty-two. One of the victims had been pregnant at the time of her death. To date there have been no arrests in the case known as the West Mesa Bone Collector and it remains open.
According to Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller who spoke with KOAT Action News, ““We certainly understand and are concerned this might be one of the six to eight missing women from the original Westside group. However, there’s no way we can confirm that at this time.” DNA analysis and identification in the new discovery could take months. Police remain hopeful the new discovery could lead to an arrest, with Chief Geier remaining confident, “We never let the case go to rest, we’re hoping that this might be a new development that could be a positive lead and turn the right direction in identifying the offenders”.
In 2010 a reward of $100,000 was offered to anyone with information that could lead to the apprehension and conviction of those responsible for the murders.