New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday met with relatives of a mother and four daughters who were found shot to death in their Roswell home, saying her office is working with federal officials and authorities in Mexico for the quick extradition of a man suspected in the slayings.
Juan David Villegas-Hernandez was taken into custody by Sonora state police on Sunday — a day after police in Roswell said the 34-year-old shot and killed his wife, Cynthia Villegas, and their daughters — ages 14, 11, 7 and 3.
Martinez, a former prosecutor, was crushed by news of the killings and wants to ensure that the suspect is returned to New Mexico to face the full measure of the law, spokesman Mike Lonergan said Tuesday.
“The governor asks all New Mexicans to pray for the beautiful girls and their mother whose lives were cut short by this monster,” Lonergan said.
Martinez met with the victims’ family members during a stop in Roswell. She also planned to attend a community vigil for the victims and those who died in a mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.
The bodies of the mother and four girls were discovered Saturday by family members who had stopped by their red-brick home on the north side of Roswell after not hearing from them for several days. According to court documents, Cynthia Villegas had just asked her husband for a divorce.
A criminal complaint filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court provided some details about an unhappy and unemployed husband worried about infidelity, and a wife in fear of a man who had become controlling and threatening.
It was not immediately known whether Villegas-Hernandez had a lawyer in New Mexico.
A large group of family members gathered outside the home on Monday. Cynthia Villegas’ mother was crying and asking why. Cynthia’s brother, Lorenzo Rosalez of Earth, Texas, told the Roswell Daily Record that he will miss the daily texts from his sister, and that his nieces were amazing.
“They were the best, you know. They were so smart and beautiful. I never saw them mad. I never saw them unhappy,” he said.
Roswell authorities worked the crime scene late Saturday into Sunday. By that afternoon, Sonora police found the suspect’s vehicle outside his family home in Arizpe. After fleeing in his vehicle, he led police on a foot chase into the hills and was eventually captured.
The U.S. Marshals Service is assisting Roswell police in the process of completing paperwork to extradite Villegas-Hernandez, who is facing five counts of first-degree murder in New Mexico district court. In addition to working with Sonoran Gov. Claudia Pavlovich and federal officials, Martinez’s office said she also met Tuesday with Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh.