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Press Release

Man from Colorado sentenced to more than 37 years in prison for carjacking resulting in death and other offenses stemming from deadly crime spree near Las Cruces in 2017

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

            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Daniel Lowell, 36, of Pueblo, Colorado was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico to more than 37 years (449 months) in prison for carjacking resulting in death and other offenses arising from a deadly crime spree near Las Cruces in 2017.

            Lowell previously pleaded guilty on July 11, 2019, to carjacking resulting in death, carjacking, attempted carjacking, high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint, brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of a stolen firearm, interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of unauthorized accesses devices.

            According to public court documents, Lowell took part in the crime spree with Trista Schlaefli, 32, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Lowell approached an immigration checkpoint in a stolen vehicle and could not produce identification. A Border Patrol agent directed Lowell to secondary inspection. However, Lowell sped away with Schlaefli in the stolen vehicle driving more than 100 miles per hour.

​            After fleeing the checkpoint, one of the tires on the truck blew out.  Lowell approached another vehicle with a family inside, including two small children.  Lowell threatened the driver at gunpoint and demanded they give him their vehicle.  Lowell carjacked the vehicle and took off with Schlaefli.

​            From there, Lowell stole some spark plugs from a store that he intended to use to break into other cars. However, before Lowell could do that, police tried to pull Lowell and Schlaefli over in the stolen vehicle.  Lowell and Schlaefli took off driving recklessly and speeding with police chasing them.  During their flight, they crashed into a motorcyclist, who died from the impact of the collision.  

​            Lowell and Schlaefli continued to attempt to evade law enforcement.  Lowell tried to carjack another vehicle, but the driver resisted.  Eventually, a team of law enforcement officers stopped Lowell and Schlaefli and arrested them.  Lowell had a stolen firearm and at least fifteen stolen credit cards with him at the time of his arrest.

​            Schlaefli previously pleaded guilty on Nov.13, 2018, to carjacking resulting in death, high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint, carjacking, attempted carjacking, aiding and abetting brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of unauthorized access devices.  She is in custody awaiting sentencing at a future date.    

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Border Patrol, the New Mexico State Police Department, the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the Pikes Peak Community College Campus Police, the Colorado Springs Police Department, the Pueblo Police Department, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, the Fountain Police Department, and the Colorado State Patrol investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa A. Ong and Aaron Jordan are prosecuting the case.


Updated February 27, 2020

Press Release Number: 20-021