Friday, September 3, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 3, The Kid Talks Snakes

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Agent Norman Rhoades of the New Mexico State Police has not officially reopened the kidnapping/murder case because, as an unsolved homicide, it has never been officially closed. But Rhoades, a crime scene investigator, has taken the cold case on as his mission. Despite the passage of time, he's hard at work trying to locate the remains of four bodies, which are most likely desiccated bones today, and to identify a killer, who is most likely dead. 
~Leslie Linthicum, Albuquerque Journal, 6/24/10


The Pintada Kid continues the story of his investigation into the Heberer Lorius case, in his own words. For a list of the entire series, click on the Pintada Kid on the Case tab at the top of the page.

A few years before I learned about the exact area where the skeletons would be found, I was out exploring with friends and we decided to go into the area to walk up through an arroyo and search some caves. We found a place where there were lots of huge boulders with caves going under and around them, and one tunnel that went into the ground where you had to get on your knees to go through.

I volunteered to go in because no one else would and was a few feet into the tunnel when one of my friends yelled at me, "You're on top of a Rattlesnake!" I pointed the light under me and saw a dry stick there, and yelled back to those guys to quit fooling around. As I went on in through the tunnel, on my knees all the way, I could hear the other guys talking in different tunnels above me and to both sides. I was going deeper into the ground, then the tunnel turned and the walls moved like Jello.

On pointing the light closer to the wall I saw that it was covered with thousands or millions of Jelly-like spiders all bunched up on top of each other.  Then I pointed the light down and they were everywhere--I had them all over me. Needless to say, I decided to look for the nearest daylight and in my haste going down the tunnel ran face to face, eyeball to eyeball with a big Bat that was just hanging there from the tunnel ceiling. He was an inch or two from my face and appeared to be wondering what was going on. I managed to somehow go under the Bat and finally found an exit out of that place. 

I was about a mile or two off from the area where the bodies will be found, which is an even more dangerous place where the crevices are very narrow.  Some are 30 to 40 feet deep along the Cliffs and the Rattlesnakes are bigger, because no one goes in there. It's a very secluded area with Big Rattlesnakes and Big Cats.

A friend who went into that area with me tried to jump a wide crevice and almost didn't make it. On another trip, a friend who is a Painter wanted to see the caves.  We were walking close to the cave entrances when I told her to walk behind me and a few seconds later I almost stepped on a Rattlesnake that was over 5 feet long.  I used my ski pole walking stick to stab it through the head and cut its head off with a rock against another rock. It was around March and there was snow on the ground, but the big rocks get so hot out there in the resting ground of the Heberer Lorius people, that the Rattlesnakes come out to warm up in the winter. My lady friend got to take a picture holding the rattlesnake, without a head of course ... the rattlesnake... and on the way back I took a picture of her standing under a spectacular Double Rainbow. 

Just a few weeks ago they killed a 7-foot rattlesnake a few miles from where the Heberer Lorius skeletons will be found. The guy that killed the rattlesnake said it had 24 rattles on it and it was very hard to kill and that it would rise up off the ground two and three feet. I would imagine there are more and bigger rattlesnakes where the skeletons will be found because no one bothers the rattlesnakes there.

The Kid


Next Monday: The saga continues

3 comments:

Deb said...

You are such a tease!

Birdman said...

QUITE a snake! QUITE a story too. Some of these cold cases are just so darn striking!

Nan said...

I have relatives in Texas and the snakes are 'just' part of life, but I could not, repeat could not live where they were. To paraphrase Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Clare, you're not in New England anymore.:<)
To say nothing of those spiders.