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Sheriff’s Office rules woman’s body found Thursday as murder

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Authorities have identified the body of a woman found north of Roswell Thursday and are investigating her death as a murder.

According to a news release from Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder, the victim, 29-year-old Marisela Barela, of Roswell, was identified by a driver’s license, which was in her pocket at the time of her death.

Snyder said at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a body being discovered in the 6100 block of Commerce Road, northwest of the U.S. 285 overpass on the north edge of Roswell.

“Upon arrival, deputies confirmed a body laying off the west side of Commerce Road,” Snyder said. “The body was slumped over next to old tree stumps.  The body had been discovered by a person who was walking their dog(s) in the area — we believe the victim was shot and killed at this same location.”

As previously reported, the Sheriff’s Office had received a report of gunshots in the same area at 1:39 a.m. Thursday.

“The reporting party also stated they had observed a vehicle leaving the area at a high rate of speed soon after hearing the gunshots,” Snyder said. “Responding deputies did not locate any vehicles or persons in the area upon their arrival to that report — we believe this is likely when the victim was murdered in that location.”

Snyder said at around 4 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office had also received a call of a vehicle being on fire, off U.S. 380 near the Pecos River.

“We now believe this vehicle is likely connected to this murder case and we are trying to locate the owner of the vehicle,” Snyder said. “The vehicle was thoroughly burned and is just a metal frame at this point.”

Snyder said this is the third murder case the Sheriff’s Office has investigated this month.

“While we do not believe these murder cases are connected, they are all brutal crimes which deserve our full attention,” Snyder said. “This is unusual for the Sheriff’s Office to have three murders committed this close together and on average we investigate about two murder cases per year.

“Our investigators and deputies have been working many hours on these cases and I appreciate their commitment to be the voice for each of these victims. We again need to thank the Roswell Police Department for sending their crime scene technicians to assist us in processing the area in and around where this victim was discovered.”

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.