Police insist discovery of bodies in Northern New Mexico not suspicious
In early February, the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home near Dulce, a rural town in the Jicarilla Apache Nation in far Northern New Mexico, where family members checking on a young man and woman had found them dead.
Deputies discovered a grisly scene: The man had been shot in the head, court documents say, and the woman’s remains were so disfigured that medical investigators have yet to determine how she died. There were several dogs in the home, and one officer wrote in a search warrant affidavit that the animals might have been feeding on the woman’s body.
Still, the sheriff’s office has said in court records that it doesn’t consider the deaths of Daniel Tiznado, 22, of Dulce, and Tanisha Bonnie, 18, of Farmington, to be suspicious.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Randy Sanches told The New Mexican in February that Tiznado’s death from a gunshot wound to the head appeared to have been “consistent with a suicide.”
But family members have been raising questions about the case, leading sheriff’s office investigators to execute a new search warrant. An affidavit made public this week says investigators obtained Tiznado’s cellphone records March 5, after his mother told deputies he had tried to text her before he died.
The woman said she believes her son had been “trying to inform her of a certain situation” and that he had been murdered, the affidavit says.
Tiznado’s mother and relatives of Bonnie could not be reached Thursday or Friday to comment on the case.
In an initial affidavit filed in the case Feb. 8, which requested a warrant to search Tiznado’s home, Sgt. Matthew Gallegos said determining the cause of Bonnie’s death was “crucial to this investigation.” Her body was found with several vertebrae missing, and Gallegos wrote that the dogs might have begun to feed on her after her death.
Sanches said Thursday there were so many bone fragments missing from Bonnie’s body that the state Office of the Medical Examiner has not been able to determine how she died. The dogs had to be euthanized, he said, so necropsies could be conducted to try to recover the bone fragments.
But Sanches said the deaths were still not considered suspicious.
“I know that the family has brought up some other concerns, and we’re just trying to tie up any loose ends” in the case, Sanches said, adding there have been “a lot of rumors and speculation” in the small community.
The home where the pair’s bodies were found has been suspected of being a haven for drug dealing, he said, but investigators found no evidence of that when they found the bodies — there were only a few small items of drug paraphernalia.
According to Sanches, Tiznado and Bonnie had been romantically involved on and off for at least a few months.
Tiznado, who had been living in the home, hadn’t been seen by friends or family for a few days. Worried family members found their bodies Feb. 5 at the home on Stonelake Road, just outside the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and notified the sheriff’s office, Sanches said.
Gallegos noted in his search warrant affidavit that he had seen family members of one of the deceased boarding up the home a day later.
In addition to the human remains, the search recovered a gray “projectile,” a broken pool stick and black fabric, all with blood on them, court documents say.
An online fundraising page for Bonnie’s memorial describes her as “a free spirit with a huge heart … a loving sister and a great friend.”