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Press Release

Navajo Woman Pleads Guilty to 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 pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Chapo, 26, an enrolled member of Navajo Nation, will remain in custody pending sentencing

According to court records, on the night of February 11, 2022, Chapo was driving her vehicle at a high rate of speed while intoxicated with her eight-month-old son unsecured in the backseat. Chapo failed to assess a lazy turn and rolled the vehicle she was driving up a dirt embankment. Her son was ejected from the vehicle through an open window and died at the scene. Chapo’s  blood alcohol content registered at .12 and .11 and first responders found an empty 375-milliliter bottle of Importers Vodka in the vehicle. 

At sentencing, 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 June 29, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-140