Jeff Jones Journal Staff Writer
March 30, 2001, Friday
Copyright 2001 Albuquerque Journal
March 30, 2001, Friday
(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- Officers Say Attack of 94-Year-Old Likely Occurred During Burglary
Handling a call involving the severe beating of a 94-year-old woman left some Albuquerque police officers shaken, a police violent crimes sergeant said Thursday.
Those officers will now have a chance to talk with a grief counselor.
The attack on Seventh NW that police and rescue workers were dispatched to early Monday morning "was a pretty bad scene," Sgt. Carlos Argueta said. "It was not your typical violent crime."
"We deal with death all the time," Argueta said. But "when it comes to the elderly and (children) it really gets to the officers. The field officers first on the scene were pretty shaken at what they saw."
The elderly woman was attacked during a possible burglary at her home, police said. Search warrant affidavits filed Thursday in state District Court said the woman also told an emergency worker she had been sexually assaulted.
Police added Thursday investigators obtained bloody clothing, hair, saliva samples and fingerprints from the victim's adult grandson, Arthur Candelaria, who called 911 early Monday morning to summon help. Argueta said the grandson has not been named a suspect.
Argueta added it's possible more than one person took part in the attack, and investigators are continuing to track down leads. Meanwhile, he said, the elderly woman remained in critical but stable condition Thursday at University of New Mexico Hospital.
Affidavits indicate police and rescue workers who came to the woman's home had to deal with a grisly scene. She was heavily bruised. She had "severe lacerations" on her forearms. And the home appeared to have been ransacked.
"Officers checked the residence for possible suspects and observed that there were items thrown around as if the residence had been gone through/ransacked," the affidavits said. They added officers also saw blood in a bedroom and bathroom and personal checks and a coin purse on the kitchen floor.
One officer "overheard a paramedic ask (the woman) if she had been sexually assaulted and she replied, 'yes,' '' the affidavits said. The officer also heard the victim say the attacker was masked.
Affidavits said the grandson told police his grandmother walked over to his home about 5 a.m., knocked on his door with her cane and told him she had been "beat up." The grandson said he helped the woman back to her home and help was summoned, the affidavits said.
"It should be noted officers did not observe any blood leading from (the victim's) residence to (her grandson's) residence," the affidavits said. The woman's injuries "were such that blood would most likely have dripped off her forearms if she had walked a long distance."
The grandson appeared to be freshly showered when police spoke with him, the affidavits added, and there apparently was no blood on his clothes. The affidavits said the grandson told police he had been wearing clothing that got bloody when he helped his grandmother back to her home, but that he changed out of those clothes.
Argueta said a police captain requested that a grief counselor have a debriefing with officers. Argueta said the debriefing will take place Monday.
People with information on the case are urged by police to phone Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP.