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Press Release

Navajo Woman from Crownpoint Sentenced to Prison for Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Valerie Cayatineto, 41, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Crownpoint, N.M., was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for her involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Cayatineto was arrested in Jan. 2017, on a criminal complaint charging her with involuntary manslaughter.  According to the complaint, Cayatineto killed a Navajo man when she crashed her vehicle head-on into the victim’s vehicle on Dec. 9, 2016, on the Navajo Indian reservation in McKinley County, N.M.  At the time of the crash, Cayatineto was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cayatineto subsequently was indicted on Feb. 7, 2017, and charged with involuntary manslaughter.  On May 31, 2017, Cayatineto pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement. 

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa Dimas prosecuted the case.

Updated April 27, 2018

Indian Country Law and Justice