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Suspect charged with first-degree murder in shooting of woman at Weed Store

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WEED — An arrest has been made in connection with a murder that occurred Wednesday morning at the local store in Weed.

The Otero County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has verified that 52-year-old Joseph Sanders of Bent, N.M., was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder in the first degree, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and tampering with evidence.

He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Tuesday before Judge John P. Sugg in Alamogordo District Court.

Sanders stands accused of shooting and killing Laura McCormick as she was working a shift Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the Weed Store. Her death was initially reported around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday on the Facebook account of the Mayhill Country Store, where McCormick was previously employed.

The Tularosa Basin Regional Dispatch Authority posted late Wednesday morning on Facebook that OCSO deputies were in search of “an older white male, thin build, balding” who was travelling in a blue single-cab, long-bed Dodge pickup and was possibly armed with a rifle. That man, later identified as Sanders, was apprehended Wednesday afternoon.

The Mayhill Country Store stated that McCormick leaves behind a husband, two small boys, stepchildren, and many friends and family and that those wishing to aid the family with donations can drop them off at the Mayhill Country Store, the Weed Store or the Mayhill Cafe. Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue in Cloudcroft also posted that it was accepting donations for the family.

Several social media accounts belonging to residents and business owners in the mountain communities expressed their shock, sadness and dismay regarding the incident, stating that the murder had shaken their sense of safety in the small, tight-knit area.

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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