Man charged in New Year's Eve shooting has troubled past

Created: 01/02/2014 6:13 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The man Rio Rancho police say shot and killed his friend on New Year's Eve is no stranger to the law, KOB Eyewitness News 4 has learned.

Ryan Wathen's neighbors tell KOB the young man's life seemed to spiral out of control after his mother's death.

Neighbors say they've almost gotten used to the SWAT team showing up at the house on Domain Loop in Rio Rancho.

The house is where Wathen ran after the shooting Tuesday night.

It is his father's house. According to neighbors, it's the house where he grew up, but it isn't a happy place.    

"It really makes me sad, but it doesn't surprise me," said next-door neighbor George Flowers.

Flowers said over the years he's watched the Wathen family fall apart.

"She got cancer, and he, Mike, kinda went out of his mind," said Flowers.

When Ryan Wathen's mom died of breast cancer several years ago, Flowers said his dad Mike changed.

So did everything else. 

"The house ran down, they put lots of, tremendous amounts of junk in the backyard," said Flowers.

Soon the cops started showing up.

Not much longer, and the SWAT team and DEA agents would come; sometimes for Ryan, sometimes for his dad Mike, and almost always because of drugs.

Warrants were served in April, May and finally on December 10. 

"Three groups of police come in and out, some of them were federals," said Flowers, of the December 10 raid. 

Those federal agents were drug enforcement officers serving a federal warrant naming Ryan's dad Mike Wathen in connection with suspected methamphetamine use and possible production.

"They said they thought they had enough evidence to get them," said Flowers.

The last raid on the house was about three weeks ago.

Seeing what he's seen, Flowers can't help but feel heartsick over what's happened now.

"The daughter and the son grow up and both have had problems with the law already and the drugs," said Flowers. "The dad ruined them. It's really, really sad to see."

Especially sad, said Flowers, considering what 21-year-old Wathen is accused of now.

Police say he shot his friend Carlos Rueda in the head, killing him New Year's Eve.   

Wathen has not been arraigned on those charges.   

As far as the warrant served on December 10, the findings from that federal investigation have not yet been released.  

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