Thursday, March 30, 2023

Select Page

Police Blotter: 19-year-old allegedly hangs self

By Donovan Quintero
and Bill Donovan
Navajo Times


A 19-year-old Gallup youth, Julian Willie, died Sunday when he reportedly hung himself in the McKinley County Adult Detention Center.

The McKinley County Sheriff’s office reported his death Monday, saying that an investigation has found no evidence of foul play.

Willie’s body was found hanging by a sheet in his cell about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Merle Bates, lead investigator for the sheriff’s office, said a jail staffer had gone by about 40 minutes before and saw nothing unusual.

Willie had been arrested on Friday on marijuana charges and Bates said there was nothing in his arrest or booking that gave any indication that he was suicidal.

His girlfriend, he said, had visited him that afternoon about 2:30 p.m. and told Bates she saw nothing unusual in his demeanor.

Bates said, however, the sheriff’s office plans to continue investigating by talking to other relatives as well as his friend to try and come up with a better understanding about why he would take his own life.

Attempted burglary leads to auto crash

Two Gallup residents were arrested Aug. 30 by McKinley County Sheriff’s deputies in connection with a burglary attempt in Tse Bonito, New Mexico, and an attempted escape into Arizona.

Danielle R. Vigil, 26, and Mario Romero, 29, are facing two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing and criminal damage to property.

Vigil was also charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license.

The two were seen about 10:30 a.m. allegedly breaking into a storage unit at Tse Bonito Storage. A sheriff’s deputy placed Romero in handcuffs but Vigil managed to get into a pickup and speed away on State Highway 264 toward Window Rock with a deputy in pursuit.

Vigil then reportedly crashed into two Navajo Nation vehicles at the intersection with Navajo Route 12. As the deputy arrived on the scene she said she saw Vigil get into the passenger side of another pickup.

The deputy motioned to the driver not to move, at which time Vigil got out of the pickup and raced to the sheriff’s unit, opening the back door to try to release Romero.

The deputy at that point placed handcuffs on her. Both were transported to the McKinley County Adult Detention center and charged for the crimes that occurred in New Mexico.

Sheriff’s office officials said any crimes that occurred in Arizona would have to be filed by either the Apache County Sheriff’s Office or the Navajo Nation Police.

Only one person was injured in the crash. That woman was transported to Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance with a back injury.

Sawmill man found dead in pickup

GALLUP — A Sawmill, Arizona, man was found dead Aug. 30 in a pickup truck parked in front of the Gallup convenience store.

Michael James Yazzie, 73, was pronounced dead at the scene after two clerks at Allsup’s Convenience Store West reported to police finding his body.

According to police, Yazzie parked his car at the store about 3 p.m. The car remained there for almost four hours before a customer coming to the store became suspicious when she saw Yazzie’s body slumped over the wheel.

She said she opened the door and checked his pulse and discovered he was dead.

Police said the body has been sent to Albuquerque for an autopsy but said there was no evidence of foul play.

Stabbing victim calls on stranger

Navajo Nation Police in the Dilkon District responded to a woman’s call about 3 a.m. on Aug. 22 about a young man who told her he had been stabbed.

According to the report, the woman heard a knock at her carport door. She answered and Nickayo Miyasato, 27, came into her Leupp, Arizona, home.

The woman told police she saw blood on his head, as well as three or four stab wounds.

Miyasato stayed inside her home for an hour before paramedics arrived and took him to the Little Colorado Medical Center in Winslow for his injuries.

The case was handed over the Dilkon Criminal Investigations office.

Woman killed in car crash

Police say alcohol may have been a contributing factor in an Aug. 6 fatal accident on Navajo Route 36 in Fruitland, New Mexico.

According to a Navajo police report, an officer arrived on the scene of the one-vehicle accident and found a female with no pulse. The officer found the woman on the passenger side of the overturned vehicle.

The report did not say if the woman was the driver or whether she was restrained in a seatbelt. Her name was not available.

Woman killed in hit-and-run

Navajo police responded to a fatal hit-and-run accident in the early morning hours of July 29 on Interstate 40 at milepost 353.3.

The report states a woman, later identified as Jennifer Lewis Yazzie, 27, was found lying unresponsive on the westbound shoulder of the interstate by an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper.

Yazzie, at the time, did not have any form of identification on her and was listed as a Jane Doe. Four days later her sister identified her tattoo.

Witnesses described the vehicle that hit Yazzie as a silver sedan. Police have not located the car and driver.

Anyone who has any information about the accident is urged to call their local police department, or 928-871-6111/6363.

 To read the full article, pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand Thursday mornings!

Are you a digital subscriber? Read the most recent three weeks of stories by logging in to your online account.

  Find newsstand locations at this link.

Or, subscribe via mail or online here.

About The Author


Weather & Road Conditions

Window Rock Weather

59% humidity
wind: 18mph SW
H 43 • L 27

More weather »