Blogger from Eye on Albuquerque discussed this last month (see below article) and may have helped to bring this case into the public's view. It could have just been YET ANOTHER "suicide" by the intimate partner of a law enforcement officer.
Nov 20, 2007
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. On Nov. 8 the Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the cause of death to be suicide. But KRQE News 13 has learned one week later the cause was changed to "undetermined" because of something revealed in the autopsy as well as new details uncovered by the Valencia County Sheriff's Department... After just returning to APD from bereavement leave, he is now on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation that is now starting from scratch again... We've learned that Levi Chavez was having an affair with another officer in APD's Internal Affairs department. That will also be investigated to see if it played a role in Tera Chavez's death At this point Levi Chavez has not been named a suspect, and no one else has been charged...
FROM LAST MONTH:
Bottom of the Barrel
Blogspot: Eye on Albuquerque
Monday, October 29, 2007
[EXCERPT] ...A story that has not made the papers is the story of Officer Levi Chavez. Chavez is a lateral officer from the Los Lunas Police Department. According to our eyes officer Chavez's wife discovered that her husband was having an affair. Tragically, her response was to take her own life. Normally we wouldn't be talking about a suicide. It's always a shame when someone takes their own life and we apologize for even bringing it up. However according to our Eyes, Mrs. Chavez's untimely death lead to an investigation and an authorized search of the Chavez residence; a search that uncovered a substantial amount of marijuana and the paraphernalia required to make use of the afore mentioned illegal substance. Of course Officer Chavez denies knowing anything about the stash and you can guess who he threw under the bus. We hasten to remind you that everyone even police officers, are innocent until proven guilty and we really hope that APD's badges aren't being used to hide some fairly despicable individuals. We also firmly believe that most sworn officers at APD are honest, hard-working, and most importantly honorable...
Death Now Called Suspicious - Shooting of APD officer's wife had been listed as suicide; husband a 'person of interest'ReplyDelete
Albuquerque Journal (NM)
BY T.J. WILHAM
May 1, 2008
The shooting death of an Albuquerque police officer's wife in her Los Lunas home in October initially was listed as a suicide.
Now, Valencia County authorities say they have ruled out suicide. They are calling the death of Tera Chavez suspicious and say her husband, APD officer Levi Chavez is a "person of interest" in their investigation.
"This is being treated as a homicide right now," said Valencia County sheriff's Detective Aaron Jones. "We are not at the point of charging anybody but we are certainly investigating."
Jones on Wednesday said Valencia County authorities are looking into "issues regarding insurance," but wouldn't elaborate. The New Mexico Fraud Insurance Board has been assisting in the investigation.
Chavez 's attorney, David Serna, said his client has assured him he had nothing to do with his wife's death, that he was very distraught when he discovered her body, and that he has cooperated with the investigation by giving three voluntary statements and a DNA sample.
"On behalf of Levi, we are real disappointed that his good name has to be tarnished, even by the categorization as a person of interest," Serna said Wednesday.
"He is a good man and a good law enforcement officer. It is a disappointment that he is still being dragged through this."
In the early morning hours of Oct. 22, Levi Chavez called 911 from a separate location and reported "there was a problem" at his house in Los Lunas and that his wife had killed herself.
Chavez met the arriving deputies, who found Tera Chavez , 26, dead from a gunshot wound.
Investigators found a "minute" amount of marijuana on Tera Chavez and her husband's policeissued 9mm Glock handgun nearby.
According to autopsy reports obtained by the Journal, the gun had been fired inside Tera Chavez's mouth. The state Office of the Medical Investigator ruled the manner of death a suicide.
But at the Valencia County Sheriff's Department's request, OMI a few weeks later changed manner of death to "undetermined."
"It is very rare that a woman will, one, shoot herself, but, two, it's even more rare they will shoot herself in the face," Jones said. "Once we looked harder at the scene, we realized that things are not what they initially appeared.
"As we went on and looked to the background of someone's life and the complexity of it, it wasn't making sense," he said. "This has been labeled as a suicide from the word go by Levi Chavez."
Autopsy reports indicated a suicide note was left, but Jones said it was very short and the handwriting is being analyzed.
Jones said investigators are also looking into the possibility a truck stolen from the Chavezes a few weeks before Tera Chavez's death is in any way related to the incident.
He wouldn't elaborate.
Investigators said that at the time Tera Chavez was killed, both she and her husband were involved in extramarital affairs with other APD officers.
Nearly a month after Tera's Chavez's death, in November, Police Chief Ray Schultz put Levi Chavez on paid leave once he realized the Valencia County investigation "was going in a different direction."
Chavez, 26, remained on leave Wednesday, and Schultz said his Internal Affairs Division would begin an inquiry once Valencia County wraps up its criminal investigation.
Levi Chavez transferred to the Albuquerque Police Department in January 2007 from the city's aviation police. "He wants to get back to work," Serna said. "He has been trying to get back to work, but that is at a standstill until he is cleared from a person of interest status. "We remain in full cooperation mode, hoping he will soon be cleared." Jones said he suspects there are people who know something about the case but have yet to come forward. He is urging anyone with information to call the Valencia County Sheriff's Department at 866-2400.
Officials: Officer Person Of Interest In Wife's DeathReplyDelete
May 2, 2008
LOS LUNAS, N.M. -- Valencia County Sheriff's detectives say an Albuquerque police officer is a person of interest in his wife's death.
Tera Chavez was found shot to death in her Los Lunas area home in October. It was considered an apparent suicide.
Now the death has been ruled suspicious and her husband, A.P.D. Officer Leve Chavez is a person of interest. The lead detective said elements of the death don't add up to suicide.
"Women don't usually shoot themselves. It does happen, but its not the norm, and they don't usually shoot themselves in the face," said detective Aaron Jones.
Officer Chavez's attorney said his client has cooperated fully with police and is not a killer.
Chavez is currently on administrative leave.
FOUND THIS ON TOPIX:ReplyDelete
Joshua B Cordova
Nov 24, 2007
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 concerning this awful event. First off my sister was a loving mother and true wife. She had no picture perfect marriage but everyday she strived to make it better for her and her kids. I know my sister better then anyone we were born together. She would have never taken her own life and for all those that say she did it just goes to show the cloud that is being held over the cover up. There are so many variables to this situation that have changed in such a short time. From the time of her death and to the way she was found it is completely different then we were originlly told. People wanna talk about an affair so lets talk about it then! Her husband Levi for years has not been faithful and on several occasions left her and the kids and moved out of their home. Tera always took him back she loved him. Levi has been or was dating a female police officer in his department during this whole terrible time. Whether that has been released yet I don't know but lets get the truth out. My sister was murdered and in do time all this will come out. There are people out there that know that truth and are hiding or keeping it quiet and I would too if I were you. Once this mess is out in the opened you will be judged once by your peers and again by god! For who ever did this god may not be mercy full on you and I hope not. Levi if you read this you know what I think and how I fill about this never forget that ever! My sister loved you and her babies now the only ones that are paying the price are the kids. Tera was a beautiful mother and her best friends in life was her kids. She put up with a lot from a man that gave very little in return to her. Tera did not take her own life it was taken from her. I cant blame her husband just yet but I can blame him for for not keeping her safe and just maybe if he did then she would be around today and the kids would have their mother back. I am very frustrated about this situation and I want the truth out and to be heard. For all those that read this or hear the story don't be so willing to give Levi sympathy cause if you truly knew the man he was and is then you would be keeping a watchful eye on him. If anyone wants to respond to my comments please do so my email is email@example.com.
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