Suspect in Cindy Rivera kidnapping, death jailed on $10M bond

Suspect in Cindy Rivera kidnapping, death jailed on $10M bond

From the Las Vegas Optic

A man wanted on kidnapping charges related to the homicide of Cindy “Tig” Rivera was apprehended Tuesday.

New Mexico State Police arrested 37-year-old Anselmo R. Ortiz, also known as “Chemo,” in Santa Fe around 5 p.m. Tuesday. Ortiz was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center later that night.

Ortiz appeared in court Wednesday afternoon via video conference. During the hearing, Judge Christian Montaño set bond for Ortiz at $10 million, cash only.

As Judge Montaño informed Ortiz of the cash-only bond, Ortiz appeared to extend his middle finger at the judge while adjusting his face mask.

In court filings, Judge Montaño cited that Ortiz has four felony convictions as well as “several” misdemeanor convictions. Judge Montaño also called Ortiz a flight risk who poses an “extremely” high danger to the community if released.

Ortiz was wanted on multiple outstanding warrants, along with an arrest warrant issued July 9 for kidnapping charges related to Rivera’s disappearance and death.

In addition to felony charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping filed against Ortiz this month, he has three other pending cases in New Mexico. He was charged with misdemeanor aggravated DWI in January, misdemeanor driving while license revoked in March and felony embezzlement of a motor vehicle in May.

During a hearing Wednesday, Judge Montaño set bond for two of the other cases as well, imposing a $5,000 cash-only bond for the DWI charge, and a separate $5,000 cash-only bond for the car theft charge. The charge of driving while license revoked was filed in Torrance County Magistrate Court where an arrest warrant was issued May 5. No hearings had been scheduled in that case as of this writing and Ortiz remained in custody at SMCDC.

During the arrest, Ortiz attempted to flee police and crashed into several vehicles, a to court records. Fourth Judicial District Attorney Tom Clayton told the Optic that Ortiz could face additional charges related to the arrest, but because it took place in Santa Fe, any new charges would have to be filed by prosecutors in the First Judicial District.

Clayton said he is satisfied with the $10 million bond imposed by Judge Montaño, but if the bond were to be lowered significantly at some point, his office could still motion the court to hold Ortiz without bond until trial.

Ortiz’s arrest comes after a nearly decade-long police investigation into Rivera’s disappearance. The warrant for Ortiz’s arrest was issued after NMSP investigators determined Rivera was killed by her ex-husband, Christopher Trujillo, who committed suicide in May.

During the investigation, police interviewed Ortiz’s ex-wife who said Ortiz had called her the night Rivera disappeared. She told investigators that Ortiz said he was “done” and that he was “going back to prison for the rest of his life,” according to an affidavit filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court. She also told police Ortiz later said he didn’t kill Rivera, but admitted he’d helped bury her body.

Following Trujillo’s death, investigators located recordings of phone calls on Trujillo’s cellphone. In one call between Trujillo and his wife, Trujillo said, “I killed my ex-wife Cindy Rivera, and buried her in the national forest. I’m going to tell them ‘Chemo’ killed her and buried her,” according to the affidavit.

On two occasions — April 30 and May 1 — Ortiz contacted Rivera’s family. Police say Ortiz offered the family information about what happened to Rivera, but wanted to exchange it for monetary compensation or a promise that he wouldn’t be charged in her disappearance or death, according to the affidavit.

Ortiz is scheduled to appear in San Miguel Magistrate Court on July 22 for a preliminary hearing.