New film to portray story of West Mesa murders

New film to portray story of West Mesa murders

For some New Mexicans, the headlines in the "Boneyard” trailer might hit too close to home. It's based on Albuquerque's West Mesa murders.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For some New Mexicans, the headlines in the trailer for “Boneyard” might hit too close to home. The movie, set to hit the big screen this summer, is based on Albuquerque’s West Mesa murders. 

Investigators uncovered skeletal remains of 11 women and an unborn baby – all buried in makeshift graves. Police say 10 of those victims had ties to drugs and prostitution. 

“She was a good kid, she just got involved with the wrong crowd,” said Eleanor Griego, mother of Julie Nieto.

Griego’s daughter, Julie Nieto, was one of those women. She went missing in 2004 at 24 years old. 

“You see all these families enjoying their families together and I don’t. Mother’s Day comes around, and it’s just so hard. I don’t want to go nowhere, I just want to stay in bed all day,” said Griego. 

Griego says another victim’s family member told her about the movie Tuesday.  

“They should have just gave us a heads-up so we can be prepared not just find out and the just fall apart, which I did. I started, I fell apart,” Eleanor said. 

Christina Ross – owner of the dog who found the bones – says she hopes the renewed attention could lead to a break in the case.

“I think this is a good opportunity to keep this story alive, to spark some interest. Maybe somewhere, somebody out there still needs to be prosecuted for this crime,” said Ross. 

“If something positive comes out of it, I’d be happy about it, but I still won’t go watch the show,” said Eleanor. 

That’s because after years of working through her grief, Griego says it suddenly feels brand new again. 

“Bringing up all the old memories, it’s bringing up the past, which we tried to move on and carry on as best as we could without the girls. Then they bring this up and not tell us anything that was wrong. Just plain wrong. They went behind our backs,” said Eleanor. 

February marked 15 years since those bodies were uncovered on the West Mesa. 

APD told KOB 4 then that they had received nearly 1,400 tips related to the case since 2009.  The search for whoever is responsible continues to this day, and there’s a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

APD issued the following statement on the film Tuesday:

“APD was never contacted nor consulted by the writer or producers of the film. The first time the department was aware of the film was when the trailer was publicly released.

APD has worked on this investigation for the last 15 years alongside the families of the young women found murdered on the west mesa. Detectives have been contacted by family members who expressed concerns about the film and how it may portray their loved ones.

The case remains an open and active investigation. Five detectives are assigned to the case and follow up on tips that come in which are reviewed weekly. The investigators have the full support and commitment of department’s leadership behind them in efforts to bring the individual or individuals responsible to justice.

The team of detectives works closely with the FBI, and remain innovative as they constantly explore advancements in technology to see if it can aide in the investigation.”