Doña Ana County



The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department has turned over all media relations related to the Kathryn Jaye Sepich murder investigation to the Doña Ana County Public Information Office. Reporters who call DASO personnel will be referred to the Public Information Office.

The following information has been approved for release. No other information will be released until the next update is processed from this office. The time of the next update has not been determined.

Doña Ana County Sheriff’s and Las Cruces Police investigators have announced that Joe Bischoff, 22, the alleged boyfriend of slain NMSU student Kathryn Jaye Sepich, has retained a Las Cruces attorney and is refusing requests to submit DNA samples for use in the investigation.

Bischoff was at the same party Sepich attended the night of Aug. 30, and investigators report that he returned to his home in Gallup the same day Sepich’s body was discovered. Acting on the advice of Las Cruces attorney Carmen Garza, Bischoff has declined to cooperate with police in the investigation into Sepich’s death.

Of the 60 or so people already interviewed by investigators, Bischoff is the only material witness who has declined to provide a DNA sample.

Sepich, 22, of Carlsbad, a graduate student of business administration at NMSU, attended a party Saturday night, Aug. 30, in the neighborhood of Veterans’ Park. She left the party sometime after midnight. It is not known whether she walked or was given a ride.

At about 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, target shooters reported the discovery of a partially clothed body in the desert near the old city dump east of Las Cruces. Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene shortly after noon and began investigating the death as a homicide. In the meantime, Sepich’s roommates reported to police that she had not returned home.

Upon identification of the body, Sheriff’s investigators contacted people who knew Sepich, including her roommates, and traced her activities back to the party.

To date, about 60 people have been interviewed about the case, and a canvas of the neighborhood has been undertaken to find anyone with information about Sepich’s death. The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office has eight investigators actively working on the case, with joint support from the Las Cruces and New Mexico State University police departments.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator issued a partial autopsy report Wednesday confirming that the cause of death was strangulation. There is a possibility that Sepich also was sexually assaulted, but that has not been confirmed.

Although several people, including Bischoff, are being questioned closely, no one has been identified as a suspect at this time.

Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of any person or persons who may have been involved in Sepich’s death. The Sepich family also is planning to offer additional reward funds, although the amount has not yet been determined.

Anyone with any information about the case is urged to contact Crimestoppers at (505) 526-8000. All callers have the option to remain anonymous. Any caller who provides information that leads to arrest(s) will be eligible to collect the reward.

Doña Ana County Sheriff’s investigators will NOT accept calls or interview requests regarding this case. All calls should be directed to the Doña Ana County Public Information Office at (505) 647-7229. After hours, media requests can be placed to Jess Williams at (505) 644-0726 or Grant Taylor at (505) 639-6509.