New charges for man connected to death of Cindy Rivera

New charges for man connected to death of Cindy Rivera

From the Las Vegas Optic

Prosecutors in Santa Fe have filed new charges against a man who’s already facing kidnapping charges related to the disappearance and death of a Las Vegas woman.

Anselmo “Chemo” Ortiz, 37, was arrested in Santa Fe in July on kidnapping and kidnapping conspiracy charges related to the homicide of Cindy “Tig” Rivera. Rivera disappeared from her Las Vegas home nearly a decade ago.

An arrest warrant for the kidnapping charges was issued July 9, and Ortiz was arrested July 13 in Santa Fe by New Mexico State Police.

When officers located Ortiz in a Santa Fe parking lot near St. Michael Drive and Llano Street, he was driving a Subaru that had been reported stolen in Victorville, California, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Santa Fe Magistrate Court on Monday.

When confronted by police, Ortiz put the vehicle in reverse and crashed into an NMSP vehicle, as well as two other vehicles, causing an estimated $10,000 to $15,000 in damage, according to the affidavit. Ortiz refused to exit the vehicle, and officers used a Taser to take Ortiz into custody.

The vehicle identification number on the car Ortiz was driving had been altered, according to police. During a search of the vehicle, officers located an open can of Bud Light Seltzer with a drinking straw inserted in the opening, along with an unsealed 750 milliliter bottle of 99 Brand liquor.

Police also located a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun in the trunk. A search of the gun’s serial number showed it had been reported stolen in Santa Fe. Ortiz has four felony convictions and therefore it illegal for him to be in possession of a firearm.

Following his July arrest, Ortiz was transported to the San Miguel County Detention Center where he’s been held since on a $10 million cash-only bond.

On Monday, Ortiz was charged in Santa Fe Magistrate Court with four felonies: possession of a firearm by a felon, receiving a stolen firearm, receiving or transferring stolen motor vehicles and criminal damage to property. He is also charged with being in possession of an open container of alcohol, and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.

On Tuesday, the court appointed Fourth Judicial District Attorney Tom Clayton as a special prosecutor for the Santa Fe case. The court also appointed former DA Richard Flores as an assistant special prosecutor.

Rivera’s family reported her missing in June of 2012. NMSP investigators have determined Rivera was killed by her ex-husband, Christopher Trujillo, who committed suicide in May. Investigators believe Ortiz assisted Trujillo in kidnapping Rivera, and in disposing of her body.

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 that he didn’t kill Rivera, but admitted he’d helped bury her body, according to court affidavits.

Following Trujillo’s sucide, 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 affidavits. Rivera’s remains have not been located.

For Ortiz’s July kidnapping charges, a jury trial has been scheduled to begin Feb. 15 in Fourth Judicial District Court in Las Vegas. A trial has not yet been scheduled for the latest charges against Ortiz.