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RPD completes investigation into prosecutor’s death

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An investigation conducted by the Roswell Police Department has ruled the death of a federal prosecutor a suicide.

Roswell Police Chief Phil Smith on Tuesday confirmed the results of the investigation into assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Wishard’s death.

According to an incident report filed with the Department, police received a call at about 8:04 a.m. April 27 after a deceased man — later identified as Wishard — was found under a tree in a 200 block of North Pennsylvania Avenue lot near a set of apartments.

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging the death of Wishard, 49.

Wishard was described in the statement as “a wonderful friend and colleague, passionate about law enforcement and always ready with a humorous story.”

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“We offer our deepest condolences to Jake’s family for their loss and will keep them in our thoughts and prayers during this time,” the statement continued.

John C. Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced in November that Wishard would be stationed in Roswell. The appointment made Wishard the first federal prosecutor to have a permanent office in Roswell in the history of the New Mexico District.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office currently has attorneys in offices in Las Cruces and Albuquerque. Another office in Santa Fe is not staffed.

Wishard’s appointment in November was the culmination of several months of discussions. Anderson, at a November press conference introducing Wishard, said high crime rates in New Mexico and Roswell showed the need for greater law enforcement efforts and coordination.

Smith said Tuesday the addition of an assistant U.S. Attorney is Roswell was a tremendous asset for prosecutions, especially when evaluating cases, bringing them to the federal level and ensuring their integrity.

Wishard spent six years as a prosecutor with the state of New Mexico before beginning his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He spent two and a half years at their Las Cruces Office and five years at their Albuquerque office.

At the press conference in November, Wishard boasted of his wide and diverse prosecutorial experience.

“I’ve done everything from gathering wood without a permit to capital murder,” he said of the cases he had handled.

Smith, who knew Wishard, described him as a “pretty straight up guy.”

“I was quite fond of him, I liked him. I thought he was going to help us out here in the city immensely,” he said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.