Ryan Lowery is an award-winning independent journalist whose work has been published by the Associated Press, Santa Fe Reporter, Santa Fe New Mexican, Idaho Business Review, and many others. He also regularly covers crime, criminal justice and investigative stories for the Las Vegas Optic.

Featured Stories

Fifteen weeks after Shana Storey was reported missing, city code enforcement officers discovered her badly-decomposed body under the floor of a home on Romero Street. The discovery wasn’t a complete shock, however, especially not to Storey’s family who’d been told by several people that her body was in the house, under the floor. What was most shocking, according to Katrina Stansbury, one of Storey’s sisters is that news of the discovery came from an acquaintance on Facebook, not from anyone at the Las Vegas Police Department. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

The body of a missing woman was found under the floorboards of a home in May, but that wasn’t the first time police visited the property. It wasn’t even the first time police responded to reports of a body on the property. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

Sold for Sex
Ryan Lowery | Santa Fe Reporter

Sex trafficking plagues New Mexico women; however, because there’s no uniform definition of the crime, a lot of it goes undetected. Read more: SFReporter.com

A car horn disrupted the quiet July evening. Then came the gunshots. Three bullets that killed Leroy “Smurf” Lucero, leaving his wife without a husband, and his four children without their father. His violent death also shifted the focus of a nearly five-year-long FBI investigation to Las Vegas. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

Decriminalizing Addiction
Ryan Lowery | Las Vegas Optic

Many people in America are jailed for crimes driven by addiction, but Alamosa, Colorado, is taking a different approach by focusing on treatment, not jail. Read all four parts here: LasVegasOptic.com.

The laughter of Adelina Tafoya was tragically silenced on July 6 when someone shot and killed her, mistaking her for a drug dealer. Two other teens were shot that night. For now, Tafoya lives on in the many TikTok videos she made, a digital substitute for the fun-loving girl who was taken from her family. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

A Trump parade took place in Las Vegas, NM, led by a Las Vegas Police Department escort. Many in the community viewed that escort as a police department endorsement of Trump, and city leaders have concerns too. Additionally, New Mexico’s public health order was violated, according to the governor’s office. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

Early one June morning, 24-year-old Jordan Sisneros watched 27-year-old Cruz Gallegos die. After he was shot, the gun was turned on gun on her. To date, only one of the several people in that Las Vegas home on June 15, 2019, have been charged. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

Jeromy “Joker” Vasquez was shot and killed in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in January of 2018. Multiple law enforcement agencies say a convicted felon named Albert Herrera is the man who shot Vasquez, and Las Vegas Police know that Herrera tossed the gun out a window of a vehicle. The FBI says Herrera is a felon who was on probation, in part for a firearms violation, and yet, there is no record Herrera was detained, arrested or questioned further. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com

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Ongoing Series

Breaking Down Barriers
Ryan Lowery | Las Vegas Optic

In February 2020, the Las Vegas Optic launched an ongoing series on drug and alcohol addiction in the New Mexico counties of San Miguel and Mora. The series explores the roots of addiction, what’s being done about it, and it looks at how other communities are addressing addiction. See the stories by Ryan Lowery here.

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News Features

Public art installations add to Boise’s existing, established downtown art scene, but the city’s growing artwork collection gives the public even more reason to spend time downtown. Read more here: IdahoBusinessReview.com

Some, like veterinarian Dr. Douglas Thal, are calling for hunters to use non-lead ammunition to help stop wildlife from being poisoned. Read more here: apews.com

Motorists in Las Vegas, New Mexico can still find the full-service treatment. Read more here: SantaFeNewMexican.com

This former “Harvey Girls” dormitory in Las Vegas, NM will soon have rooms for rent once more. The building’s owners have given new life to this historic building rich with history. Read more here: LasVegasOptic.com