Non-Indian Man Charged with Murdering an Indian Man in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo
Another Non-Indian, Charged with Aiding and Abetting Murder, is at Large and Considered a Fugitive
ALBUQUERQUE – Jack R. Patterson, Jr., 66, a non-Indian, who resides in the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh, N.M., appeared in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with murder and violating the federal firearms laws. Patterson, who was arrested on July 8, 2015, was ordered detained pending trial.
Antonio Valdez, 24, is charged in a separate criminal complaint with aiding and abetting murder and being an accessory after the face. Valdez, also a non-Indian who resides in the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh, has yet to be apprehended and is considered a fugitive.
Patterson is charged with murdering an Indian of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and Northern Cheyenne Tribe who is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe on the night of May 25, 2015, in Chamita, N.M., which is located in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. He also is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Valdez is charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly assisting Patterson conceal his crime by helping Patterson bury the victim’s remains in a shallow grave outside Patterson’s residence in Chamita.
The charges against Patterson and Valdez were announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge William McClure of District IV of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, Chief Pete N. Kassetas of the New Mexico State Police and Chief Donovan Trujillo of the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police Department.
According to court filings, the charges against Patterson and Valdez are the result of an investigation initiated by the BIA on May 27, 2015, after learning that the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police Department received a missing person’s report about the victim. By late June 2015, the investigative team, which grew to include the FBI and New Mexico State Police, had learned that the victim had last been seen in the company of Patterson and Valdez. Witnesses reported hearing gunshots coming from the direction of Patterson’s residence on the night of May 25, 2015. Witnesses also reported hearing that Valdez allegedly killed the victim and that Valdez allegedly claimed to know where the victim was buried.
On July 7, 2015, the investigators executed a federal search warrant at Patterson’s residence. During the search, human remains were found in a grave on Patterson’s property. The remains were identified as those of the victim by tattoos. A rifle, which was loaded with ammunition, was also seized during the search of Patterson’s property. Patterson was prohibited from possessing either firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.
If convicted, Patterson faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment on the murder charge and a maximum penalty of ten years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, Valdez faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment on the murder charge and a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on the accessory after the fact charge.
Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A photograph of fugitive Antonio Valdez is attached to this press release. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of this fugitive is asked to contact the BIA at (505) 455-2295.
The charges against Patterson and Valdez are the result of investigation by the Northern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, the FBI, the Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police Department, the FBI’s Evidence Response Team and the New Mexico State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Jane Mease is prosecuting the case.
valdez_photo.docx (42.55 KB)