Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Deaths of former Chinle Police District dispatcher and 4-year-old found Sunday ruled double homicide


A former Navajo Nation Police dispatcher was found decapitated last Sunday morning, in a horrific case that stunned the department.

Police sources familiar with the case said authorities found the remains that are believed to belong to the dispatcher, a woman who was employed at the Chinle Police District for about a decade. She left her position at least a year ago.

Sources said her family had called the police requesting a welfare check at her home in the Lukachukai/Tsaile area. When police arrived, she wasn’t around, said one police officer, who asked not to be named.

Officers later discovered the remains of a woman and a 4-year-old child.

The alleged suspect, the woman’s 18-year-old brother, stole her vehicle, which authorities found in Moab, Utah.

Sources say the Navajo Nation Police Department took it hard and had a debriefing in Chinle Wednesday, March 1. Other Navajo police districts helped patrol the Chinle district for 12 hours that day.

Michael Anderson, the executive director of the Division of Public Safety, said the incident had been ruled a double homicide.

“At this point, we’re taking it as a homicide,” Anderson told the Navajo Times Friday evening. “The Navajo Nation Criminal Investigations is conducting the investigation.

“It’s always sad when we have a situation like this, but it’s harder––especially when it involves former employees of the Navajo Nation,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is what the situation was: a mother and her child were killed by a family member under what circumstances is still under investigation.”

Anderson said the NNPD partnered with the FBI to locate and arrest the suspect.

The joint investigation, which NNPD shared with the Navajo Times Saturday afternoon, shows that the incident happened early Sunday morning. The woman and her child were shot and killed by an 18-year-old with a handgun at their residence, and their remains were found in a wash.

The 18-year-old left the scene, and authorities tracked and detained him in Moab. The motive behind why it happened is still under investigation, according to NNPD. And the 18-year-old has still yet to be interviewed, and autopsies are pending.

“All we can do right now is allow the process to continue and the investigation to bring the suspect to justice for the crime that was committed,” Anderson explained.

Anderson said the Criminal Investigations is conducting a thorough investigation and utilizing a resource of agencies.

“The diligence of our Navajo police officers has resulted in the capture of a suspect, which aids in further bringing prosecution for justice to this matter,” he added. “I encourage the Navajo people to be aware of resources to help prevent future tragedies involving domestic violence or similar situations – ADABI (Healing Shelter), Division of Behavioral (and Mental) Health.”


About The Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen is editor of the Navajo Times.


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