Suspect in Rio Rancho girl’s death says he wrote a note about ‘what happened that night’ | KOB 4

Suspect in Rio Rancho girl’s death says he wrote a note about ‘what happened that night’

Nathan O'Neal
October 29, 2018 11:00 PM

RIO RANCHO, N.M.- The primary suspect in the rape and killing of a 6-year-old girl said he wanted to give a handwritten note to detectives detailing “what happened that night.”


4 Investigates obtained jailhouse phone calls made my suspect Leland Hust, 21, who is accused in the death of Ariana Romeo. In several phone calls made from the Sandoval County Detention Center, Hust talks about the case to his relatives in the days following his arrest.

Ariana Romero’s lifeless body was recovered from a home in Rio Rancho back in August. Police say she was raped and strangled to death. However, the circumstances of her death still remain a mystery.

In one phone call, Hust tells his grandmother he was placed on suicide watch at one point and wasn’t allowed to possess paper and pencils. Hust explained in the phone call how inmates talked about his case on the phone and began shouting at him. He said, “I snipped at my wrist with my tooth and it got pretty deep.”

In a separate phone call, Hust asks his mother if she is able to get a hold of detectives because he “wanted to hand them a piece of paper,” adding: “It’s written… of what happened that night.” During that same phone call, Hust’s mother tells him “I will let them know that you did handwrite something. Just make sure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands – you might want to flush that down the [expletive] toilet” to which Hust responds, “Okie doke.”

However, a spokesperson for Rio Rancho Police told 4 Investigates they did receive a note from Hust – a piece of evidence investigators are sending to the District Attorney’s office. Citing their ongoing investigation, police would not reveal what the note said – and it’s also unclear if the note obtained by police is the same note mentioned in Hust’s jail phone call with his mom.

Hust’s public defender told 4 Investigates he did not have a copy of the note.


Nathan O'Neal

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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