Families search for two missing men

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times
GALLUP, March 21, 2013

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L ee Bitson was seen leaving NCI. Since then his whereabouts have been a complete mystery to family and friends.

Orible Harvey Nez has been missing even longer, since Dec. 8, 2012, when he left a residence in Shiprock.

Nez is 5-feet-11 and weighs 210 to 220 pounds. He has long brown hair with gray streaks and a tribal tattoo on his upper left arm.

Bitson is described as 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-5, about 160 pounds

Cora James, Bitson's niece, said family members have spent a lot of time searching Gallup and Window Rock trying to find any trace of him. Police in Gallup and Window Rock have also been on the lookout for him with no success.

"He's my favorite uncle," said James, adding that the 75-year-old lived in the St. Michaels area near the old two-story trading post, but came into Gallup frequently.

He was raised in the Cross Canyon, Ariz. area where he also has family but no one there has had any word of his whereabouts.

She said her uncle has never gone missing before but family members are afraid that after leaving NCI he may have had a heart attack or a stroke. They don't think it was a robbery since they think he had little, if any, money on him when he went missing.

Another factor to consider in all of this, said James, was the fact that Bitson received regular monthly checks at the post office and none of these have been picked up since he went missing.

Family members at times went into Gallup and tried without success to trace his steps after leaving NCI but no one knows where he went from there.

It's possible, said James, that he may have left NCI with a group of people.

NCI officials, however, said they couldn't release any names because of privacy issues.

"We also conducted a search in the two-story area," she said and that went nowhere. The family is planning to conduct more searches in the future, she added.

Police in Gallup and Window Rock said there has not been a body found since then that has not been identified.

James said her uncle's name has also been put into the national register of missing persons.

Anyone who has any information about Bitson's whereabouts is asked to contact the Window Rock police at 928-871-6113 or Karen John at 928-206-7181 or Hadesbah John 928-205-9796.

Sheriff seeks clues to drive-by shooting

FARMINGTON - The San Juan County Sheriff's Office issued the following news release regarding a drive-by shooting March 11 in Farmington.

On March 11 at approximately 2 a.m., a woman and her 14 year-old son were traveling southbound on County Road 350 in the Crouch Mesa area of Farmington. A dark-colored Chevy Tahoe and a tan Buick or Chrysler passenger car, which seemed to be traveling together, began traveling close to the woman's vehicle. A few moments later several shots were fired from one of the vehicles striking the woman's car. Both suspect vehicles then fled the area at a high rate of speed. Fortunately, no one was injured in the ordeal. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to contact Detective Montoya with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office at 505-334-6107. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may contact Crime Stoppers at 334-TIPS.

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