After another violent year, Albuquerque families await justice

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– 119 people have been killed in Albuquerque so far this year, breaking the homicide record for the third time in four years.

Now, there is a renewed focus on catching killers. Police have a much higher clearance rate arresting suspected killers, but some families are still waiting for justice. 

Sunday was a tough day for the family of 19-year-old Paloma Sanchez who was killed on Christmas Day in 2019. APD is trying to connect the dots, but her family is losing hope.

Sanchez had just turned 19-years-old before she was shot and killed on Christmas Day 2019.

“My sister was literally shot in close range, in her face, below her eye on her top cheek bone,” said Selena Sanchez.

Police are now linking her death to the homicide of Christian Frescas and a third shooting on Christmas Day in 2019. They believe a white Tahoe was at the scene of all three of those crimes.

“Come the holidays, especially Christmas, generally everything makes me want to throw up,” said Sanchez. 

Sanchez says it’s the grief, the guilt, and the waiting that hurts the most. A pain that’s impacting more and more families every year.

When Sanchez was killed in 2019, APD had 75 cases to work. This year, that number has reached a new record -112 homicide cases. 

“We quadrupled the size of the homicide unit, and we layered in our city with a bunch of hundreds of cameras and gunshot detection technology to allow us to catch those folks,” said Mayor Tim Keller. 

Keller says they are doing a number of things to try and address violent crime – pointing to a broken criminal justice system.

“It’s going to take every potential criminal and everyone who is worried about crime, seeing people who commit crime be behind bars and be held accountable, and that’s what we started this year,” said Keller. 

While APD is marking more and more cases as solved, there are many others still on the desks of detectives. Families say things aren’t getting better.

“You can’t even walk to the corner without hearing gunshots or someone being stabbed or fighting,” Sanchez said. “What’s best for my kids is what I have to do. You can’t walk down the streets without hearing an ambulance passing by.”

If you have any information on that white Tahoe or those 2019 shootings you’re asked to contact Crime Stoppers.

Click here for a link to the city’s running list and homicide stats.