NM sheriff dies after battle with cancer

Sheriff Jonathan Mooradian leaves behind a wife and two children


By Jesse Moya
The Deming Headlight

DEMING, N.M. — After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Luna County Sheriff Jonathan Mooradian died Thursday morning. He was 48.

Mooradian began his 23-year career with the Luna County Sheriff's Office Reserve Unit in 1991. He joined the force full time in 1993 and rose to the rank of lieutenant before he was elected Sheriff in 2014. Mooradian succeeded Raymond Cobos. During a 2014 interview as Luna County's newly-elected sheriff, Mooradian said he was blessed to take the position.

"The last conversation I had with Jon was to tell him to stay strong," said former Luna County Sheriff Gary Ciccotelli.

Ciccotelli served two terms in the 1990s and retired as under sheriff in 2009.

Mooradian was a staunch supporter of keeping Luna County safe and implemented the Seatbelt Enforcement Project in 1999 in which he secured a $2,000 grant for the LCSO. In addition, Mooradian also managed over $6 million in grant funds for the department during career.

In 2015, he was honored as a Cancer Warrior and led the annual Celebration of Life Cancer Walk which raises tens of thousands of dollars to help cancer patients in Deming and Luna County.

"Sheriff Mooradian and his dedication to serving and protecting this community will be greatly missed," Luna County Manager Ira Pearson said in a statement. "The thoughts and prayers of Luna County and its staff are with his family, friends and colleagues in law enforcement."

The LCSO is under the leadership of two captains who could be possible successors to the sheriff's post. They are Kelly Gannaway and Jose Martinez.

"Sheriff Mooradian was someone who exemplified what it meant to be a law enforcement officer," Deming Police Chief Bobby Orosco said. "Sheriff Mooradian loved his job and his community, and was always willing to do whatever it took to help anyone."

Mooradian leaves behind his loving wife, Michelle, and children, Rheganne and Josh. Services have not yet been finalized and will be announced soon.

"Sadly, the community of Deming and Luna County has lost another friend and public servant," Deming Mayor Benny Jasso said. "We will miss you Sheriff Mooradian and will always be grateful for the years of dedicated service and sacrifice that you and your family gave this community."

Central Dispatch announced Thursday afternoon that the LCSO was closed and officials could not be reached for comment.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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