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Victim, suspects in Las Cruces identified
By: Gina Benitez and Jamel Valencia
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Police arrested two people in connection to the beating death of a 37-year-old Las Cruces man.
"I had no idea. My grandson was coming home from school and he made the turn and saw the yellow ribbon," said Elva Guerrero, who lives next door to where the incident happened.
Jerome Saiz was found with injuries to his head and face Wednesday morning at his home on Princess Jeanne Drive.
"He used to come in and do work for us, you know, because he wanted to. He would come and do whatever we needed, electrical," Guerrero said.
The two arrested are the 28-year-old girlfriend of the victim and a 27-year-old man.
Police said they found Saiz wrapped in a roll of carpet inside his home.
Police investigators said Saiz died around 3 a.m. at Mountain View Regional Medical Center of what appears to be blunt force trauma to his face and head.
Rebecca M. Gomez and Leonard Espinosa Telles are both charged with an open count of murder in the death of Saiz, Gomez's boyfriend.
"They used to fight a lot, verbally. They used to do a lot of fighting and I could hear them all the way down here," Guerrero said.
Gomez and Telles also face charges of conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
Saiz had been at a friend's home until around 1 a.m., when he returned to his house. Just over an hour later, the friend received a phone call from Saiz and overheard a woman yelling and what sounded like a violent struggle. The friend called 911 and directed police to Saiz's home.
When police officers arrived at Saiz's home they found Gomez in the driver's seat of a vehicle parked in the driveway. Gomez, according to police, told them that no one else was home, but officers found Telles inside.
Once inside, police said they found Saiz on a bedroom floor, wrapped in a roll of carpet. Officers unrolled the carpet and found Saiz with multiple injuries to his face and head. Saiz was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"Right away I knew more or less because I had seen things going on. I'd heard all the yelling and I figured something like that had happened," Guerrero said.
Gomez and Telles were placed into custody and taken to the Las Cruces Police Department.
Investigators said they believe an argument between Saiz and Gomez led to Telles striking the victim multiple times with a baseball bat. Gomez is believed to have incited Telles to continue bludgeoning Saiz until he lost consciousness, according to police.
Gomez's two daughters, ages 6 and 7, were inside the residence at the time of the incident but were not physically injured. They have been turned over to the custody of another family member.
Gomez and Telles were booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center with cash-only bonds set at $500,000 each.