Laramie County Sheriff’s Office Admits ‘Failure’ in Murder Case
The Laramie County Sheriff's Office admits it dropped the ball earlier this month by waiting a day to notify the public that an "armed and dangerous" murder suspect was on the loose.
The murder happened around 1:47 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4 at a home in the 300 block of County Road 161, about 11 miles south of Pine Bluffs.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, 31-year-old Greeley, Colorado resident Yigner Rodrigo Turcios-Romero, also known as Rodrigo Vigner Turcios-Romero, had gone to the home around 8 or 9 o'clock that morning to see his friend Aparicio Garcia.
The two were reportedly drinking beer and talking in the garage, which is detached from the house, about Turcios-Romero's relationship issues when Turcios-Romero's roommate, Olvin Yonairo Montoya-Ramirez, who Turcios-Romero had called for a ride, pulled up in a truck with his son.
The boy told deputies that he and his dad had driven up from Greeley to pick up Turcios-Romero and got to Garcia's house at about 12:40 p.m.
He said he saw his dad go into the garage with Garcia and Turcios-Romero, but he stayed in the truck.
Garcia told deputies that while the three, who knew each other from previously working together, were talking in the garage, Turcios-Romero's girlfriend showed up in a car, demanded the keys to her Jeep, which Turcios-Romero gave her, and sped off.
Garcia said after she left, Turcios-Romero entered and exited the garage at least three times before pulling a gun from his waistband, saying something to the effect of "this is what you get," and shooting Montoya-Ramirez once in the head, subsequently killing him.
Turcios-Romero then reportedly pointed the gun at Garcia and said something to the effect of "we are accomplices now" and asked where the boy was, to which Garcia said, "Don't do anything stupid."
The boy told deputies that he got out of the truck after hearing the gunshot and walked toward the garage, but he was stopped by Garcia and Turcios-Romero.
He said Turcios-Romero asked him for the keys to the truck, but he told them he didn't have them and, fearing his dad had been shot, decided to run away from the property.
Garcia said he was able to get inside his house and told his family to lock the doors and call 911.
He said Turcios-Romero came to the door and was yelling for the keys, but he told him that he didn't have the keys and to get off his property.
Turcios-Romero continued to walk around the property asking for the keys before getting on Garcia's son's bicycle and riding off, the affidavit says.
It wasn't until 11:26 a.m. the following day, Sept. 5, that the sheriff's office issued a news release, which was only disseminated through its Facebook page, informing its followers of the homicide and asking for their help in locating Turcios-Romero.
The post said that Turcios-Romero was "believed to have fled back to Colorado" and "should be considered armed and dangerous."
But Turcios-Romero didn't flee back to Colorado, he reportedly hid in a nearby cornfield overnight and around 1 p.m. on Sept. 5 walked back to Garcia's house and turned himself in.
He was subsequently charged with first-degree murder and his case was bound over to Laramie County District Court.
"The sheriff never let anyone on our road or the surrounding area know that there was a possible armed murderer on the loose," Christy Hefley, who lives less than a mile down the road from where the shooting occurred, told KGAB Radio.
"We only got a tiny bit of information while we were stopped at a roadblock they had set up after he was found walking down the road without any clothes," she added. "The way that this was handled is terrifying and irresponsible."
When questioned about it, sheriff's spokesman Captain Kevin James told KGAB Radio, "While conducting our debrief of this incident afterward, we identified that we absolutely should have utilized our county’s emergency notification system to inform the surrounding area of the dangerous situation that was occurring."
"That was a failure on our part," he said. "We are taking corrective steps to ensure that we do it better next time."
Turcios-Romero is currently being held in the Laramie County jail on a $500,000 cash bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17.
For more information about this case, check out our earlier posts:
- Laramie County Homicide: Accused Murderer Fled on Bicycle, Hid in Cornfield Overnight
- Man Charged With Murder in Laramie County Homicide
- UPDATE: Suspect Detained After Man Shot, Killed in Laramie County