Doña Ana County



The family of Mesa, Ariz., murder victim Victor Chavez can sleep better this week, knowing that the alleged killer is behind bars in Doña Ana County.

Doña Ana County Detention Center Investigator Guadalupe Quezada cracked the cold case last week when she overheard a local inmate talking about the Arizona case. She immediately used the Detention Center’s capability to tape inmate phone calls to follow up on what she heard. The result: a taped confession to the Chavez murder.

As a result, Jeremiah Dowling, 18, of Las Cruces will be extradited to Arizona to face murder charges. Dowling already faces local charges of vehicular homicide, aggravated battery causing great bodily injury or death, and leaving the scene of an accident. Those charges date to last December, when Dowling is alleged to have killed one woman and seriously injured another with his truck on Roadrunner Parkway. He also faces local charges of attempted escape from the Doña Ana County Detention Center.

Mesa detectives already have interviewed Dowling based on the Doña Ana County Detention Center tapes, and he has confessed to Chavez’s murder. The detectives said that until Quezada came through, they had no leads on the murder. Chavez was shot to death in September of 2005.

“I could not be prouder of Investigator Quezada,” said Detention Center Administrator Chris Barela. “She exemplifies the best of our dedicated personnel, and she has showed the value of both personal vigilance and of the facility’s investment in recording equipment to monitor inmate calls. As a result of her dedication, an alleged killer will face justice.”

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.