Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Friend charged with the murder of Taos Pueblo artist

Copyright © 2021

SANTA FE – Long-time friend of well-known Taos Pueblo artist DeAnna Autumn Leaf Suazo was arrested and charged in her death following a criminal complaint filed in the US District Court in Albuquerque.

Suazo was found dead near her car outside her Taos Pueblo residence in early November.

In the 19-page ad and probable cause filed against Santiago Martinez, he admits to an FBI agent that he hit her and then hit her with her vehicle after the two of them drank a lot during the day and evening.

Martinez, 29, is charged with crime and murder committed in the Indian country.

DeAnna Autumn Leaf Suazo (Jim Thompson / )

The victim is identified as Jane Doe in court documents, but Suazo’s family has confirmed to the Journal that it was Suazo, 29, who was found dead.

In an interview with an FBI agent on Nov. 22, Martinez said Suazo wanted to go and Martinez didn’t want her to.

“Santiago said he hit and pushed Jane Doe. When Santiago pushed Jane Doe, she fell on the driver’s side of the car, ”the court documents read.

“Santiago was angry and got in the car, hit the gas and hit her. Santiago said he was angry and angry when he got in the car, “the complaint reads. “He knew it was his fault she wasn’t here. Santiago said it was an accident, but it happened. “

“Trip Force Injury”

Suazo was “covered with significant bruises,” the chief of the Taos Pueblo Public Security Department told the FBI when they were notified.

An autopsy was performed by the Office of the Medical Investigator on November 14, but “the cause and type of death are pending and investigated,” court documents say.

The autopsy revealed a “pattern-like injury” to Suazo’s chest, shoulder and arm. “There were alternating linear lines in the area of ​​the bruise, which could indicate that a vehicle tire was on her left chest area,” the complaint said. Bleeding between her skull and her skin indicated a “blunt violent injury,” the lawsuit pointed out, citing the autopsy.

The probable cause statement outlines desperate attempts to resuscitate Suazo with CPR by witnesses before being rushed to a hospital in Taos by an ambulance driven by the Taos Pueblo Police Chief.

Testimony described Martinez’s previous violence against Suazo and text messages in which she stated that court documents indicated that she wanted their relationship to be interrupted.

Past arguments

Martinez called his mother at 3:30 a.m. on the day of the incident to tell her that Suazo was dead. She and others went to the residence on Grinding Stone Road, which, according to the ad, was “inhabited by Jane Doe and her friend Santiago.”

Martinez’s mother told agents that the couple had argued in the past and that Suazo would ask them to intervene.

A witness who went to the scene told FBI agents that the couple “got into a physical altercation around Christmas time in which Santiago had Jane Doe locked in a room, pegged to the floor and choked.”

In statements to FBI agents on the morning Suazo was reported dead, Martinez initially gave different versions of what had happened, according to court documents.

Martinez said he and Suazo were at their apartment on November 12 and started drinking that day by the next morning.

Suazo made dinner and they split a 12-pack of beer and then a 4-pack along with tequila shots and “smoked two bowls of marijuana,” according to the court documents. He played video games while she worked on her art.

Martinez said Suazo went outside to listen to music in her Land Rover Discovery Sport and he went in to get wood for the fire. He told agents that when Suazo went outside, “was bleeding and he saw bruises on her face but didn’t know what had happened”. He said he got into the car and reversed it to loosen the tire from Suazo’s arm. Agents told Martinez that if things had happened as he said he would have continued to drive the car on Suazo and he changed his story, according to court documents.

‘How am I supposed to live without you?’

Martinez did not call the police or 911, but did call his and Suazo’s family members to tell them she was not available. Suazo’s sister came into the house and, according to documents, blamed Martinez for Suazo’s death.

Agents noticed cuts and abrasions on Martinez’s hands, and he said “he hit a wall,” the likely cause.

Several family members were outside, and Martinez “appeared to be drunk,” the Taos police chief told the FBI prior to their arrival.

When agents arrived, they found the Land Rover working and turned it off, court documents say.

After agents parked the car, they found “a dark-colored, dried red substance near the inside of the door handle.”

There was blood on the forearm area of ​​Martinez’s sweatshirt that he identified as Suazo and said it came from grabbing Suazo while she was on the floor.

Search warrants were issued on the couple’s cell phones on November 19.

“I’m not saying this because I’m crazy,” Suazo wrote in a text message on November 5th. “I say this because I’ve felt this way for a long time. We really need to take time for one another. I am not in the right place to have a relationship with you, ”the text reads according to the court records.

A witness told the agents that Martinez yelled at Suazo’s body, “What are you … what are you doing, how am I supposed to live without you?”

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