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Police Blotter: FBI seeks public’s help in 2015 murder investigation


For the past two and a half years, Judy Pete has been hoping to hear that someone has been charged with the murder of her son, Durwin Merrill Davis. But even though investigators for the Navajo Nation Police and the FBI have put in hundreds of hours investigating his murder, which occurred on July 1, 2015, no suspects have been found and nothing has led to the discovery of why he was murdered.

So last Tuesday, the FBI did something they very seldom do – they held a press conference in Gallup and talked about some of the facts in the case. Anyone in the media who has worked with the FBI knows their standard practice is not to say anything about an ongoing investigation. But Frank Fisher, a public information officer for the Albuquerque FBI office, said this may be the only way to get the investigation rolling again. “Someone out there knows something,” he said, and the FBI is hoping that putting a spotlight on Davis’s murder will encourage someone to call in a tip that will eventually lead to a suspect.

To give someone an even greater incentive to speak out, the FBI is offering a reward of $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Davis’ death. The FBI’s phone number is 505-889-1300.

The basic facts connected with this case include that Davis’ body was discovered about midnight on July 1, 2015, outside a residence in Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He had been shot in the chest. FBI agents figured out very early that this was not connected to gangs and that Davis was targeted and not the victim of a random killer.

The remoteness of the house where Davis’ body was found seems to preclude someone finding Davis by accident and killing him. Over the next few months, the FBI traced down hundreds of tips and even began investigating gossip in the hopes of finding a decent lead. Judy Pete, Davis’ mother, said he was happy when he made someone laugh and at the age of 23 still enjoyed the company of his relatives. He had gone to Miyamura High School and Central High School in Gallup and was, at the time he was killed, trying to get into Job Corps.

Pete said she received a letter the week after he was killed saying he had been accepted into the program. Pete said that not a day goes by when she doesn’t miss her son. “I can’t sleep. I can’t eat,” she said, breaking down in tears. She said she has no idea who murdered him and why. “He was a loving, caring boy,” she said. She also issued an appeal during the press conference, asking anyone who knows anything about her son’s death to call the FBI and give her and other family members peace.

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About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.


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