Sunspot observatory to reopen following mysterious closure

David Lynch
September 16, 2018 
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/sunspot-observatory-to-reopen-following-mysterious-closure/5072677/?cat=500

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After mysterious circumstances closed the Sunspot Solar Observatory in southeast New Mexico on Sept. 6 – prompting conspiracy theories of close encounters and men in black suits – it was announced over the weekend that the facility will “transition back to regular operations” on Monday.

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Our Backstory, Season 1: The history and consequences of priest abuse in New Mexico

Trailer: Welcome to “Our Backstory”

From KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our investigative team examines, discusses and reports on topics with relevance not only in our state, but across all 50. These are the extra details, extra soundbites and extra tidbits of information that may not have fit into our TV coverage, straight into your ears.

For the latest news from KOB, visit our website.

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Episode 1: A grain in the sands of abuse

For years, abuse by Catholic clergy in one northern New Mexico archdiocese was rampant. We talked to two survivors about their experiences, and confront one of those former priests themselves.

For KOB 4’s original report on Sabine Griego and his victims, click here.

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Episode 2: The court battle

Before reporting on the crisis of priest abuse in New Mexico, we went to court to fight for the unsealing of documents that would become the bedrock of our reporting. An Albuquerque attorney joins us for a discussion on that legal fight.

For more on KOB 4’s court fight, as well as links to other reports in this series on KOB.com, click here.

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Episode 3: An isolated hell – Part 1

In the first of this two-part report, we travel to a town that is small even for New Mexico, and to a lonely abandoned building where unchecked sexual abuse by one man was rampant over 40 years ago.

For KOB 4’s original report on Hacienda de los Muchachos, click here.

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Episode 4: An isolated hell – Part 2

In the second part of this two-part report, we return to the lonely town of Farley, New Mexico, where dozens of boys were abused at an isolated ranch-turned-isolated hell. What, and who, brought an end to it?

For KOB 4’s original report on Hacienda de los Muchachos, click here.

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Episode 5: Not a pedophile, not a priest

In an act of good faith to try and repair its trust with the public, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in late 2017 released a list of what it referred to as 74 credibly accused priests.

A few months later, a pair of lawsuits allege that the list is inaccurate.

For KOB’s original report on this story, click here.

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Episode 6: Who’s to blame?

Hundreds of abused boys and girls swells to hundreds of thousands when you examine the clergy abuse crisis on a national scale. Many of the factors that led to priest abuse in New Mexico parallel trends across the country, and even around the world.

On this series finale of Our Backstory, we talk to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests about the ongoing fight to hold the right people accountable, as well as why a culture change is needed as much as a legal one.

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For the podcast website, click here. 

Gunfire heard ‘on a regular basis’ from property where kids, child abductor found

David Lynch
August 17, 2018
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/gunfire-heard-from-property-where-kids-child-abductor-found-on-a-regular-basis/5018597/

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Documents obtained by KOB indicate that law enforcement in northern New Mexico knew that several adults and children were living at a makeshift compound just a few miles south of the Colorado-New Mexico border.

For exactly how long authorities knew about the compound’s occupants is unknown, but gunfire could be heard “from the property on a regular basis,” according to a search warrant sworn out by Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe and executed this week. In Hogrefe’s account of the site, he describes “what appears to be a shooting range” along one side.  Continue reading →

‘It’s on’: Bank robbery suspect shot at officers during pursuit that ended with fatal Smith’s shooting

David Lynch
June 28, 2018
Link to story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/its-on-bank-robbery-suspect-shot-at-officer-during-pursuit-that-ended-with-fatal-smiths-shooting/4967947/

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque Police say concern for the public and a chaotic car pursuit involving gunfire factored into an APD officer’s decision to fire rounds at a chronic bank robbery suspect earlier this month in southeast Albuquerque.

47-year-old Richard Rivera – who had a criminal history dating back to 1995 – died when a veteran APD officer shot at him in the parking lot of Smith’s at Coal and Yale on June 16, APD Lt. Ray Del Greco said at a Thursday morning press conference.

It was the culmination of a vehicle pursuit that began when Rivera and 39-year-old Jennifer Rael held up a Verizon store in northeast Albuquerque—the pair’s third armed robbery in less than a week, Del Greco said.

Del Greco said police were able to track the pair, in a stolen U-Haul van, not far from where the Verizon store is located. Rael told investigators the pursuit began after Rivera turned to her and said “It’s on” before pulling out a firearm.

The subsequent chase involved Rivera firing so many rounds at officers that Rael told investigators “she couldn’t keep count,” Del Greco said.

When a spike strip deployed by APD failed to stop the van, they attempted two pit maneuvers. After the first attempt, lapel video shows the officer firing five rounds at the van.

The pursuit continued briefly before the van was finally stopped at the Smith’s parking lot, after the third pit maneuver. The officer can be seen in lapel video leaving his cruiser, pursuing Rivera on foot while yelling at him to stop and then firing six shots as Rivera approached the Smith’s entrance.

Surveillance camera footage shows Rivera turning back to look at the officer and reaching for his right hip before the shots are fired.

“He was afraid Mr. Rivera was going to either shoot him, an innocent bystander in the parking lot or someone inside the Smith’s store,” Del Greco said, adding multiple witnesses told investigators they heard Rivera say twice that he had a gun.

Rivera died at the scene after attempts by officers to revive him were unsuccessful. Rael, meanwhile, was taken into custody.

Police later searched the van, where Del Greco said they found a cell phone taken from the earlier Verizon store robbery, a gun legally bought by Rael for Rivera earlier in the month, and empty shell casings.