...[Valencia County] Sheriff Rene Rivera said in writing that the case will not be actively investigated until new leads or tips come in... Until Monday, the Valencia County Sheriff's Department made the case the main priority for Detective Aaron Jones... Jones said, "I am livid because the people that made the decision have limited to no knowledge about the case. They ought to be ashamed of themselves." Also, a statement from the New Mexico Insurance Fraud Bureau on Monday stated that it "has an ongoing and active investigation into this case and is not at all influenced by the sheriff's decision"...
- [NM] NOT in any news search results: Shooting of cop's wife Tera Chavez - An Albuquerque Police Department officer was put on leave today after medical investigators determined his wife's death may not be a suicide after all. Tera Chavez was found dead next to her husband's department-issued handgun, a 9 mm Glock... Tera Chavez, 26, was found shot in the head. A small amount of marijuana was found with her...
- [NM] Wrongful death lawsuit filed for officer's wife, Tera Andrea Chavez - ...Multiple APD officers showed up at the Chavezes' home in Valencia County the evening of Oct. 21, 2007, after the Valencia department reported the death to the agency as a "courtesy," the lawsuit states. It alleges that the officers spent nearly three hours in the crime scene, during which time they flushed blood evidence, removed bloody bedding and pieces of the mattress that Tera Chavez was on when she died.
- [NM] (Wife-murder suspect APD Officer Levi Chavez has "taken the Fifth" in 285 of the 309 questions asked him?) - ...Her husband's police-issued 9-millimeter gun was next to her body... A lawsuit filed by the victim’s family states that officer Chavez changed his wife’s life insurance policy to include a pay-out clause for suicide which became active weeks before her death... Officer Chavez denies knowing anything about the stash [of marijuana] and you can guess who he threw under the bus... I am Tera's twin brother and I am following this story through the internet and family because I am currently deployed in Iraq. I have a few comments conserning this awful event..."
TARGET 7: TERA CHAVEZ CASE ON HOLD - APD Officer Wife's Death Case Turns Cold
POSTED: 10:42 pm MDT May 10, 2010
UPDATED: 11:59 pm MDT May 10, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The mystery behind the death of the wife of an Albuquerque Police Department officer has taken a turn.
Tera Chavez died from a gunshot wound in her Valencia County home in October 2007. At one time, investigators focused on her husband.
Sheriff Rene Rivera said in writing that the case will not be actively investigated until new leads or tips come in.
"The tips, they stopped," Rivera said.
Rivera said for that reason Monday afternoon he made a difficult decision.
"The thing is, we are not closing the case to where it is never going to be opened again," Rivera said. "This case is going to be on a stand still until we get further information or tips or so on."
The case began Oct. 21, 2007.
Chavez, a mother of two, was found dead in her home. Her husband, Albuquerque police officer Levi Chavez, told a 911 operator that evening that he made the discovery and it was a suicide.
A deeper investigation ruled the cause of death undetermined and made detectives turn their attention to Levi Chavez.
"He was considered a person of interest," Rivera said.
APD placed Chavez on paid leave for more than a year. Currently, he is on administrative duty working at the west side animal shelter.
Until Monday, the Valencia County Sheriff's Department made the case the main priority for Detective Aaron Jones.
"It is just that right now, Detective Jones really doesn't have anything to go on to further the investigation. That's why the case, at this point, is closed pending further investigation," Rivera said. "His reaction is, you know, 'I worked so hard on it just to be shutdown.'"
The sheriff said if a good lead comes in Jones will follow it.
"I want Tera's mom and dad to know how and why Tera died," Rivera said. "At this point, we can not give that closure to them."
The sheriff emphasized the case is at a standstill until more leads come in.
Jones said, "I am livid because the people that made the decision have limited to no knowledge about the case. They ought to be ashamed of themselves." Also, a statement from the New Mexico Insurance Fraud Bureau on Monday stated that it "has an ongoing and active investigation into this case and is not at all influenced by the sheriff's decision."
District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said a couple hours before Rivera's news he received some reports and evidence from Jones, but his office is waiting for more before they can prosecute the case in court.
The sheriff said his information will be forwarded to APD by May 14.
A spokesperson for APD's chief said Target 7 broke the news to them.
Once APD does receive the information they will immediately start an internal affairs investigation and once that investigation is complete.
The findings will be delivered to Schultz who will take appropriate action, if any.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 505-866-2400.
TARGET 7: MOVEMENT MADE IN TERA CHAVEZ CASE: Valencia County Sheriff Weighs In On Case
POSTED: 11:01 pm MDT May 11, 2010
UPDATED: 9:44 am MDT May 12, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The high-profile Tera Chavez case was at a standstill, but now the Valencia County sheriff has much more to say.
"It wasn't right, but it happened," Sheriff Rene Rivera said.
Rivera spoke about the night of Oct. 21, 2007.
"I think that the guards were let down, being that it was the wife of a fellow officer, and I believe that is what tainted a lot of the crime scene," Rivera said.
In a press release issued Tuesday morning, Rivera claims Albuquerque police officers and command staff came into the home of fellow officer Levi Chavez.
Chavez's wife Tera died from a bullet wound fired from her husband's duty weapon.
Initially, it was called a suicide, but later a deeper investigation changed the cause of death to undetermined and investigators named Levi Chavez a person of interest.
The sheriff now said he regrets that the home was not treated as a crime scene from the start.
Levi Chavez' criminal defense lawyer David Serna claims back then the officers' presence was not said to be a problem.
"At the time, it was considered perfectly appropriate for law enforcement officers to comfort a fellow officer," said Serna.
More than 2 and a half years later, things are at a standstill, according to the sheriff.
On Monday, referring to the lead detective working the case, Rivera said, "He has put many, many hours of work into it, but right now I believe Det. Jones went as far as he could."
The lead detective, Aaron Jones, fired back in a statement saying he was "livid and the people who made the decision had little or no knowledge about the case."
Tuesday's statement said the case is not closed. The sheriff noted that his department has invested more than $10,000 for an expert to analyze evidence and that his office will continue to pursue leads as they come in.
Brad Hall, the attorney representing the estate of Tera Cordova Chavez said in a statement, "So much evidence was contaminated and lost at the crime scene, because of a blue culture and code when APD supervisors entered the crime scene."
The APD's response is, "APD did not destroy any evidence - officers were called by deputies to assist in grief counseling - and once the scene was fully investigated APD officers wanted to clean up the scene so the young children would not have to see the bloody aftermath of their mother's death."
The sheriff said Jones will have to complete and submit all reports in this case to the district attorney by Friday. The DA said the case is an active and ongoing one in his office.
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