Mothers react to recent APD homicide arrests

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police released this week that the department has arrested 47 homicide suspects so far in 2022.

23 of them face charges related to killings during this year so far, and the rest face charges related to crimes as far back as 2019.

That puts APD’s clearance rate at 97%. The department calculates the rate by comparing the number of cases solved in the calendar year, compared to the number of homicides so far in the year.

Cleared cases apply to the rate for the year when they’re solved, not when the crime happened.

Lisa Morales remembers the day she heard about the arrest of her son’s suspected killer vividly. She was in Santa Fe with the NM Crusaders, fighting for stricter crime laws during the legislative session.

“It’s kinda bittersweet where we’re definitely grateful he was off the street where he could no longer hurt anybody,” said Lisa Morales, the mother of Joseph Morales. “Had he been in jail like he should’ve been, my son might still be on this earth.”

Her son Joseph, in his first semester at UNM, was killed on November 13, 2021.

“It was a really hard day,” said Morales. “He was always trying to help people, he was just a really good-natured- he had a beautiful heart.”

Joseph’s suspected killer, Juan Pacheco, was arrested two months later, in January 2022.

He’s still in jail, charged with murder, waiting to go to trial.

APD highlighted Pacheco as one of the 47 murder suspects they’ve arrested so far this year.

Lisa Morales was grateful for the arrest, but knows it was only one of many battles to come.

“That really doesn’t change it for us. We’ve already been given our life sentence. We’re now having to navigate through this life without our son which is very hard.”

And there are still many families waiting for even that one step toward justice, like Erika Walker. Her son Lorenzo Romero, the oldest son of her six kids, was killed last Halloween. She is still waiting for the news of an arrest in his case.

“His younger ones called him dad, that was their father figure,” said Walker. “If they (his killer) were able to take somebody’s life and have no remorse for it or turn themself in or whatever the case, maybe they’re still out there making bad choices and they could be taking other lives.”

“I’m scared for my children and for other people – I don’t want any other individual to have to be in my shoes.”