Boyfriend arrested in woman’s slaying at Santa Fe motel

April 8, 2019

Santa Fe police have charged a 34-year-old man with murder after his girlfriend was found dead Saturday in a Cerrillos Road hotel room.

Police say Jose Calabaza called 911 on Saturday morning to say his girlfriend, identified as 24-year-old Miranda Tenorio, was unconscious and bleeding in a room at Motel 6. Detectives determined she had been “severely beaten,” according to a statement issued by the Santa Fe Police Department on Sunday morning.

Calabaza told the detectives his girlfriend was pregnant.

“We won’t know if that’s true until an autopsy is performed,” Deputy Chief Robert Vasquez said Sunday. “That will be either Monday or Tuesday. Once we get information from that autopsy and our detectives finish their investigation, we can share more.”

Vasquez said investigating officers found some witnesses who told police about events leading to the killing. He said those witnesses were “friends of both the suspect and victim, and they all hung out together at a nearby pizza shop and the motel.”

He said police are not ready to identify the witnesses or what evidence they may have provided leading to Calabaza’s arrest. He said investigators are still looking into Tenorio’s death and whether a weapon was used.

The first police officers arrived at the motel, at 3007 Cerrillos Road, about 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Vasquez said. Those officers then called in detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit and Investigations Unit.

Vasquez said Tenorio’s death is the first homicide of the year in the city.

An online search of New Mexico court records show a Jose Calabaza, born in 1984, has had several run-ins with the law. A 2012 charge of shoplifting against him was dismissed, as was a 2010 charge of larceny. In both cases, Calabaza pleaded not guilty. He plead guilty in 2009 to a charge of aggravated assault and served some jail time, though the online records do not specify how long.

Vasquez said Calabaza was born in July 1984 but added he did not know if he is the same Calabaza listed in the court documents.

Police have responded to a number of shootings, beatings and other crimes at that Motel 6 over the past year. In March, a man was shot in its parking lot during a suspected armed robbery tied to a drug deal, police say. In February, a man staying in one of the rooms threatened to take his own life, leading to a SWAT team response. Police believe the man shot himself after they arrived.

Vasquez said police have not yet confirmed where Tenorio lived.