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Press Release

Navajo woman arraigned for involuntary manslaughter in Indian Country

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced today that Mariah Chapo was arraigned in federal court on February 23, 2023, on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Chapo, 26, an enrolled member of Navajo Nation, will remain on conditions of release pending trial.

A grand jury indicted Chapo on January 25, 2023.  According to the indictment and other records, on February 11, 2022, Chapo crashed her vehicle after driving at a high rate of speed while intoxicated, ultimately killing an unsecured eight-month-old John Doe. The alleged homicide occurred within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, Chapo faces up to eight years in prison. 

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew J. McGinley is prosecuting the case.

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Updated March 1, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-35