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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Mescalero Man of Domestic Assault

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office, announced a federal jury returned a guilty verdict against Theodore Ian Chavez, IV for assault of an intimate partner by strangling. Chavez, 26, of Mescalero, and an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, was detained pending sentencing which has been set for June 12, 2024.

A federal grand jury issued an indictment against Chavez on Nov. 15, 2023. According to evidence presented at trial and other publicly available court records, in the early morning hours of August 6, 2023, Chavez strangled and assaulted his intimate partner, Jane Doe, multiple times, resulting in the loss of consciousness and visible bruises. He also shoved Jane Doe into a door, resulting in bruises and a head injury. After the assault, Jane Doe sought medical attention.

When interviewed by law enforcement officers, Chavez confirmed that he and Jane Doe had been intimate partners for several years. Although he initially denied and downplayed the incident which resulted in the assault, he eventually admitted that he had physically restrained Jane Doe following an argument. Chavez admitted that he likely caused the bruising on Jane Doe’s body, including the bruising on Jane Doe’s neck, while attempting to restrain Jane Doe. Chavez stated he was attempting to restrain Jane Doe with a forearm across the chest, but that his forearm slipped and was on Jane Doe’s throat, impeding her ability to breathe. When asked about the signs of manual strangulation, Chavez conceded that he put his hands on Jane Doe’s throat but denied any intention or occurrence of strangulation.

At sentencing, Chavez faces 10 years in prison.

The Las Cruces Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joni Stahl and J. Kirk Williams are prosecuting the case.

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Updated March 4, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-93