A reward of $100,000 is being offered by New Mexico authorities for help in solving the murders of 11 women and an unborn child, whose remains were discovered buried in an Albuquerque desert 13 years ago, according to published news reports.
Wednesday marked the 13th anniversary of the West Mesa case. The investigation started more than a decade ago, when a woman, who had been walking her dog in the desert, not far from a new housing development, made the gruesome discovery of a human bone, according to the authorities, CBS News reported.
The bone was the first of many skeletal remains that would be unearthed as part of a comprehensive excavation that was followed by nearly a yearlong investigation to identify the victims based on DNA and dental records, the news outlet reported.
Of the 19 women that were missing, 11 were identified and 8 women still remain missing.
While Police Chief Harold Medina spoke during the press conference, haunting headshots of the identified victims and those who still remain missing were displayed.
“We will continue to work these cases and continue to see justice for the families and those who lost their lives within our city,” Medina said.
The Albuquerque Police Department said this is the largest homicide case in the department’s history, and over the years nearly 1,200 tips have come in, CBS News reported.
“Investigators hope that that one bit of information, however tiny it may seem, will help crack open the case,” the news outlet reported.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller thanked the police and FBI, and echoed the words of the police chief, saying “we have to remember that we can never give up hope.
“We use this anniversary and part of what we have to do as a community in these cases is to support the victims and the families of the victims,” the mayor said.
City Councilor Klarissa Pena, whose district covers the area where the remains of the women were found, said that it is “burned into Albuquerque’s collective memory.” A memorial park has also been built to keep these women’s memories alive.
“These family members just want closure,” she said. “We hope that there are tips out there or anybody who knows anything can help in closing this case so the families can finally put their family members to rest in peace.”
Detective Ida Lopez noticed early on that many of the women that were vanishing from Albuquerque struggled with drugs and prostitution.
“These women were loved, each one has a unique story and their families want answers, and we are dedicated to finding those answers,” Lopez said in a statement, CBS reported.
The Albuquerque Police Department was unavailable when Inside Edition Digital reached out for comment.
The Albuquerque Police Department, the FBI and the families of the women have all contributed to the $100,000 reward in hopes of an arrest and successful prosecution in the case.
Anyone with information on the West Mesa murders is urged to contact (505)-768-2450 or information can be reported anonymously to Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers (505)-843-STOP. You can also contact Investigator Ida Lopez at ILopez@cabq.gov.