Thursday, September 30, 2010

Angel Fires, for Skywatch

Dawn near the Organ Mountains

Be sure to visit Skywatch Friday to see skies from all over the world.




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don't Have a Plow Guy Any More

I was just reading something about a plow guy in New England. I love that phrase, "the plow guy." We used to have a plow guy when we lived in New Hampshire, and he was an important part of our life because he meant that we could get out into the world again after the snowstorms came.

Waiting for the plow guy; buried Volkswagens in our New Hampshire driveway. Of course, the plow guy would plow only the driveway. It was up to us to rediscover our little cars under all that snow
and dig a path from them to the scraped driveway. All this might be happening before driving to work on a Monday.
Is it any wonder we love being retired in the desert Southwest?

Now that we live in New Mexico, I guess the plow guy's place has been taken by the adobe guy, who is an important part of our life here in the desert because he knows how to keep our adobe buildings from melting back into the earth when the monsoon rains come.

Waiting for the adobe guy; melting adobe garage wall

In some parts of the state, women traditionally did the adobe maintenance, re-plastering the old walls by hand with new mud every year. Where we live we have the adobe guy, who has saved our poor old neglected garage by spraying the adobe bricks with a stabilizer. Remember, we only got here last November, so we weren't responsible for the condition of the garage. We are working through our list of home improvements as fast as we can.

Adobe detail; part of an earthy lifestyle in the desert

And before you worry about us living in a big, messy mud puddle--the adobe bricks of our main house are covered firmly with an earth-colored stucco that keeps the whole business from melting away in our spectacular summer rainstorms. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Bee

We hardly ever see any bees around, so I was pretty excited when this fellow (gal?) started visiting the vitex (Texas lilac) tree I planted this year. I only ever see one at a time, and he seems to live somewhere out in the pecan orchard. I know that this is a strangely lit shot--I was shooting into the sun because I wanted to get that bee right then before he/she flew away. 

I worry that the orchard spraying program will harm him. You can read an article here that suggests some reasons as to why honeybees are disappearing. It's a huge problem.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gone Away; Farewell to Our Bertie Pierre


A neighbor came running at night with good news
Excited, she didn't get the gate closed firmly
And our little band of pirate dogs took a walk outside

When I found that they were gone
I called frantically
The big dogs returned, running back inside the gate to safety

I searched the dark road for Bertie
And found him, mortally wounded
Crawling home as best he could

Brave little Bert
Strong little Bert

A little while later
After we had done what could be done
He died in my arms, his head against my cheek

The next day Beez saw a roadrunner
With a glint in his eye

He took it as a message 
That Bertie is well
And running around in the great beyond

Waiting for us...
Waiting to make us laugh again



To celebrate Bertie's life, see The Adventures of Bertie Pierre.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Breakfast at Nellie's

Nobody should eat this way unless they are planning to ride out and herd cattle all day. However, after weeks of high fiber, low salt, and low fat behavior, we splurged on a breakfast at Nellie's Cafe. 

This family-owned place is one of the old favorites in Las Cruces. There is almost always a line, and when you get in you might find yourself sharing a table with strangers. You may not know them at the beginning of the meal but by the end you may find that you are practically swapping family photos.


We've gone to lunch at Nellie's lots of times, but this first breakfast there was a real treat--no lines, no crowds. Just a few tables were occupied, as we had arrived right at opening time. We got to know the staff a little better, and there was even some bantering going on between customer tables.

This hearty breakfast consisted of eggs, red chile meat, beans, rice, salad, and tortillas on the side. Beez just couldn't resist an order of his favorite sopaipillas with honey. And of course, the meal started with Nellie's wonderful fresh corn tortilla chips and salsa--yes, for breakfast! It was way too much food, but it was delicious, and we just skipped eating for the rest of the day. 




Nellie's Cafe
1226 West Hadley, Las Cruces, New Mexico
505-524-9982

No website, they're too busy cooking! Open at 8 in the morning, serving breakfast and lunch.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Road Trip for Skywatch

Beez has to travel around the state of New Mexico quite a bit. Sometimes I get to go with him. A recent trip took us across the prairie...


... through some hilly country...



... and across some mountains.



This New Mexico of ours is a pretty amazing state! For skies in others states and countries around the world, be sure to visit Skywatch.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Little More About the Garden

This year represents my first real try at desert gardening. The plants and soil and climate are so different from what I knew back in New Hampshire. 

I'm learning to group plants by their water needs. The tomatoes and roses are near each other because they like being watered; the cacti, off in the background in the picture below, are baking up against the adobe wall of the house and rarely get any water from the hose. 


The tomatoes were slow to grow and slow to bloom, but they suddenly took off and spread across the path, engulfing the roses, the crape myrtle, and the little hollyhock plants. Next year I am hoping for some spectacular hollyhocks, as they will shoot up and bloom in the second year. 
I had never seen vitex trees in bloom until this summer, but I loved their color. Ours was three feet tall when I planted it in June. I learned that if the first blooms are cut off after they turn brown, you will be rewarded with an even more abundant second blooming. I love their color with the pink of the crape myrtle, petunias, and geranium; and with the lavender-blue of the sage (not shown in these photos). The little tree fills the porch and the front yard with its spicy fragrance, which comes from both the flowers and the leaves.

Here is the Texas lilac (vitex) when it was planted in June; it only had a few blossoms, and just came up to the top of the fence

The Texas lilac in mid-September is full of blossoms and is a lot taller than I am. I love looking through it at the mountains. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cactus Garden Update



When I planted the beginning of the cactus garden back in mid-June, we all marveled that I had to remind myself NOT to do anything to it except for a light watering every three weeks. I cancelled a couple of those waterings because of our summer rains. In spite of what seemed like neglect to me, the little plants have been thriving. 

Here they are in mid-September, after three months in their adobe soil (with half sand mixed in for drainage). I've put in "before" pictures, too. 





Echinocereus triglochidatus (good grief!), "White Sands" before

... and three months after. Although the camera angle was different, you can see that there are maybe twice as many rows of thorns on the sides, indicating lots of growth. I'm glad I have these photos for comparison. Cacti are like kids, they grow, whether you notice it or not, from day to day
Mexican fire barrel cactus, before...

... and after. Not such dramatic growth as the first one. 

Euphorbia? It was really small in June...


You have to look hard to see the original part of the plant. It's grown so much that it might actually needs staking, although  I've never seen that done with a cactus. I like the way it throws its shadow on the adobe wall. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bite the Toes?

When my son was still a baby, he had an endearing little habit. When you'd peek into the crib to say good morning, he'd swing his baby feet invitingly up into the air and say, "Bite the toes?"

I thought about him as I sat down, barefoot as usual, at the computer table the other morning. I caught a little glimpse of something underneath just where I was about to put my feet and figured that it was time to put on my glasses. Was that a lizard tail? Part of a snake?

Nope. It was this guy.

He had already passed away when I found him and was toes up

I flipped him over; he was about 5 inches long


I'm afraid he had picked up a few cat hairs in his final battle

I believe that he was a common (I hope not too common) desert centipede. According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum website these creatures have bites that are painful, but not poisonous. Just in case my cats plan to make a habit of bringing these fellows into the house, I will be wearing shoes from now on whenever my feet are somewhere that I can't keep an eye on them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

No Life for a Lady




No Life for a Lady, by Agnes Morley Cleaveland. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941.

Litte Buckaroo

The whole time I was reading this old New Mexico classic, I was thinking, "Oh, this is the life I was meant to live!" I had been a little misplaced buckaroo, living out my early years in San Francisco, playing cowboys and Indians on sidewalks. Agnes Morley, some 70 years before, was the cowgirl I might have been, if not for the fact that I lived in the wrong time and place.

Agnes was born in New Mexico in 1874. She tells of her life on the family ranch near Datil, and what a life it was. Outlaws and six-shooters and horses and bears. Stage coaches and log cabins and cattle and long, lonesome trails. Here are a few of the chapter titles from the book, just to give you the flavor: While Clay Allison Shot Up the Town; A Fatherless Swiss Family Robinson; Cows Were Our Universe; Twelve Pupils: From Six to Six-Shooter; and Cowpuncher on a Sidesaddle.

In these modern days when children aren't allowed to play outside unsupervised, it just livened me up to read the chapter called "Put a Kid on a Horse," which tells of communication between far-flung ranches in the days before telephones. If a message or some letters or most anything else needed to be delivered over the next mountain, these early ranchers did, indeed, put a kid on a horse to deliver what needed to be sent. Starting when she was 11-years old, Agnes and her younger brother, Ray, made a twenty-mile round trip singly or together every week to Baldwin's (later Datil) to carry the mail bag to and from their ranch.

Much later, Agnes was driving a wagon to the town and back, all alone. Here is what happened:
Once, when I had stopped to 'noon' on a trip to town and my team was feeding, I climbed back into the high seat of the wagon and picked up a book [CZ note: She's a cowgirl and she loves to read, no wonder she's my heroine!]. I did not hear the silent footfall of a horse and was startled when one of the team snorted. I looked up to see a horseman beside the wagon. He was a Mexican, swarthy and begrimed. He looked at me curiously. 
'You all alone?' he asked in his own tongue. I told him I was. 
I could read puzzlement in his face. Mexican girls did not go about alone, even in our country. 
'Why you all alone?' he persisted.
          'Have to,' I told him.
This seemed to puzzle him all the more. He sat looking at me intently. 
'You not afraid?' he asked finally. 
          'No.'
'Why you not afraid?'
I reached under the edge of the Navajo blanket that covered the sea and pulled out my little thirty-two.
He nodded approvingly. 
'Bueno,' he said, and rode on.
If you can find a copy of this book (which is still being reprinted), I would highly recommend that you spend some time with it, dreaming about old-time New Mexico and the life that should have been mine.

No life for a cowgirl!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Glad to Be Alive, for Skywatch

Way back on September 12, 2001, I woke up and was amazed to find that I was still alive. 
On every September 12th since that horrendous year, I wake and find that I am always glad to be among the living. 

Here is what I saw this year, on that thankful morning.







You could say that I saw nothing special, just a blue sky with nice clouds. 
Or, you could say that I saw the most miraculous sky that anyone had ever seen:
A sky that brought tears to my eyes. 

For all kinds of skies, be sure to visit Skywatch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 10. The Kid Makes His Case

[FBI Investigator Raymond] Gere states his biggest regret was his inability to solve the 1935 Lorius and Heberer murder mystery. He suggested that amateur sleuths should look for human bones along U.S. 60 in western New Mexico. He stated the case "has consumed 30 FBI volumes, seven years of my time as an agent, and countless pages of newspaper and magazine type."

"There have been hundreds of theories about what happened and where it happened to George and Laura Lorius, and Albert and Tillie Heberer," Gere told the Chieftain. "I am convinced they were murdered and their bodies were hidden within 25 miles west of Quemado, along U.S. 60."

~Paul Hardin, El Defensor Chieftain6/7/08
*****
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.


 Over 25 years ago, when I felt sure I could solve the
Heberer Lorius case, I tried to talk to Larry Barker (a local TV reporter) and others in the Media and even emailed everybody who was anybody.  I tried to get the morning programs to listen to my story but no one was interested or wanted to even reply to me. I always wondered why these people in the media didn't at least call me and question me as to why I felt that I could solve the Heberer Lorius case when no one else could.


I had that Lt. Rhoades [New Mexico State Police Investigator Norman Rhoades] call me and we talked on the phone and emailed each other. He even told me that I had a good chance of solving the case. Then he ceased contact and even said to the Albuquerque Journal I didn't want to speak to him and the Heberer Lorius relatives, just because when he unexpectedly showed up I was supposed to know he was there [and I didn't]. 


All I can say is I did my homework and went overboard finding evidence and the exact area where the bodies will be found, plus I have my Original story and not a Dream* like one of the Heberer Lorius relatives claims to have had about her sister being buried under concrete or whatever. What about the lady who supposedly saw one of the victims murdered--what became of that story? 


There are some old men who think that [the tourists] are buried somewhere near Albuquerque, but that area was combed over thousands of times. Some of these people want to find the bodies in their area because that would be great for bringing in tourists, but their stories are very weak.



The reason I'm the logical one to solve this great mystery is because I know all that land in the center of New Mexico, and I have walked and ridden horses all over in the area where the Heberer Lorius people will be found.  Plus I just happened to have a brother-in-law who knew lots about the case and he's the one that should have solved it but didn't, because there were no bodies to be found. 


It's a great feeling to know you can solve the Heberer Lorius case, especially when at one time I thought it would be impossible to find some skeletons in a cave. But then, when I found the two key pieces of evidence, I knew I was right about the area.


Today I'm just waiting for the Media and the right people in Law Enforcement to go with me so I can prove this case can be solved--that is, if I can trust the people who go in with me.

The Thrill of knowing that a Great Mystery, rivaling those of the Lindbergh Baby and Amelia Earhart, could be solved, slowly faded away as I saw the years pass. I finally came to realize that When a Latino commits a crime or is wearing handcuffs the Media jumps at the chance at giving them coverage forever, but if they have something to contribute of interest to mankind they are ignored and not allowed to tell their story.

There is one last thing I want to say about the
Heberer Lorius case. It is this: Out there in the center of New Mexico, you can see Sheepherder writings carved on rocks. When the sheepherders were out there herding sheep and living in tents in the 1930s, the rocks they wrote on showed old model Ts and Airplanes and lots of brands and other markings. These Sheepherder writings are just a few miles from where the Heberer Lorius people will be found, and they are more evidence that the sheepherders wrote about the Heberer Lorius people in their own way. The area where the writings are has lots of snake dens around it and the writings are under an overhang and are in very good condition.


As a little kid living in a Rock Mud house with dirt floors and oil lamps with my two sisters and both parents, my bed was situated under a magazine picture of a Snickers bar cut in half with the Caramel showing. Back then they used newspapers and pictures out of magazines [for decoration].  This picture would drive me crazy because candy was a very Rare treat, and was not seen for months, if ever. Sometimes the only thing we had to eat was maybe a Deer, which was rare; or Jackrabbits and sometimes Rattlesnakes and Porcupines, which were very plentiful. Of course, Rabbit meat bathed in Red chile was always a real Delicacy with a tortilla.



I remember when I was around 3 or 4 years old and food was scarce, we killed a horse for food. I don't remember too much about my dad, just that he hunted for food and sometimes I would follow him. He played guitar and violin, and my mom played guitar, and they both sang. My mom died in a Bad Head-on Crash, so my parents were gone by the time I was 9 years old. I ended up with their Guitar and Violin. The Guitar has Disintegrated by now, but it helped me as a kid to have something to do and I forced myself to learn to play since age 5.


Who would have guessed that someday this kid whose toys were insects and spiders out in the mountains would end up Solving the Heberer Lorius case 1935 with or without the help of Law Enforcement and Media.

~El P
intada Kid




*****

* On May 22, before she knew anything was amiss on her sister's vacation, Laura Lorius' sister woke up with a fright in Illinois and told her husband that her sister had come to her in a dream and said, "I've been murdered and buried under the floor of an old building. You'll have trouble finding me."

~Leslie Linthicum, Albuquerque Journal, 6/24/10

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 9. Cover Ups, A Tattooed Man, and More Rattlesnakes

A gas station owner in Quemado recognized the photograph of the four missing vacationers and identified his hand writing on the gas receipt. He was also able to recall the make and model of the car precisely.


Gere then compared the odometer readings from the car found in Dallas to the mileage recorded on the receipt at Quemado. Less than 50 miles were unaccounted for, thus leading the FBI to conclude the car was turned around within 25 miles west of Quemado. A massive search of the roads, canyons and arroyos around Quemado turned up nothing.
~Paul Hardin, El Defensor Chieftain6/7/08


"... it would be hard to find a good place to bury anyone in those rocky grasslands."


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.

During the years I worked on the Heberer Lorius case, I talked to all kinds of Old Timers who had heard about it.  Some of them had their own ideas about what had happened to those people.  I learned lots of history from the old folks.

However, I believe that the case was probably never solved because of the competition between the FBI and the New Mexico State Police, and because they withheld evidence from each other.

I also feel there was a big Cover up on the case, not only by Law Enforcement, but also on the part of the people who didn't want their relatives to go to jail for the crime. There were also people who were friends with the killers who didn't want them to get caught.

A 90-year old man who died a year or two ago told me he thought the [missing tourists] were buried out towards Roswell.  I disagreed with him at the time, because I had ridden horseback as a kid in lots of those areas and it would be hard to find a good place to bury anyone in those rocky grasslands. Sure, there are sinkholes, but it's too easy a place to search.

I did ask this man if he knew of a tattooed man in the area at the time of the crime and he said there was one guy that they used to call Ding Dong Bob. The Albuquerque Journal talks about a tattooed man with offset ears, who was thought to have been seen driving the Heberer Lorius car. I suspect that this was Ding Dong Bob.

When I was younger, I would hear about the Media coming down and recording interviews with a couple of Old Timers in the area about the Case.  I wasn't interested at the time and I didn't know or care about the mystery of these people getting murdered and buried, supposedly at some business place in Vaughn. Year after year the Media came and interviewed the same old people; not realizing that these very people were friends of those who had plotted the killings. I'm sure that they probably knew more about the Heberer Lorius case than what they told the Media. 



Even my brother-in-law was probably friends with the killer, although he didn't say so. Almost everyone liked him; he was always joking and telling stories about his State Police days.  Years after he retired he was still going out into the back country on crutches--he loved being out in the mountains. He used to tell how he had investigated a case on top of a mountain called Tecolote Peak.  A plane had crashed there years ago, he would say, "and when we got to the top there were people scattered over the side of that mountain but there was no blood." It turned out to be a Plane loaded with Cadavers that had crashed.  He had all kinds of stories.

I was a Pallbearer for my brother-in-law's funeral over 20 years ago and after his death I think I heard they took his coffin out from where he was buried and moved him somewhere else.

The Heberer Lorius case, which rivaled those of Amelia Earhart and the Lindbergh Baby, could probably have been solved a few days after the people first disappeared. However, the investigators were thrown off track by the killers and accomplices, with [contradictory] evidence and false stories. In this way the search was led to an area where there weren't any bodies. By the time the right area was searched, all traces of evidence were gone.



I don't think that the searchers thought about looking in all those Mountainous Mesas, littered with rocks, caves, and house-sized boulders. In these places there were lots of Rattlesnake dens and Giant Rattlesnakes that the Old People called Vivorones. The old people claimed that these big snakes could swallow a goat. In the Land of the Longwalk in Pintada Canyon the Indians drew pictures, which can still be seen today, of these big Rattlesnakes. 


An old friend who is interested in me solving the Heberer Lorius case, and who knows the area and history and the people well, said to me, "You are probably the only one who can go into that area where the bodies are. No one else wants to go in there because of the Rattlesnakes." I guess in a way he was right but I'm not too crazy about getting bitten. I've heard that the Anti Venom for a Snake bite is about 20 thousand dollars not including all the other medical expenses.


Back in 1935 there were lots more Giant Rattlers than there are now.  If you ever heard a Big Rattlesnake sound off SHEEESSSSSSSSSSS you will understand how chilling the Big Rattlesnakes can sound. You Freeze in Your Tracks because the sound of those rattlers is loud and you don't know if it's one Rattlesnake or a dozen.  You sometimes have to wait for the rattler to move before you can see it.

~El Pintada Kid



Tomorrow: The series concludes



Monday, September 13, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 8, Family Ties


A scene in the center of New Mexico. Perhaps the missing tourists passed this way?


The case was given to the Albuquerque Field Office with Detective Albert Raymond Gere placed in charge... It was one of the first major abduction cases given to the FBI since the Lindberg Act went into effect.

Gere immediately went to work. His first task was carefully checking George Lorius' car in Dallas for clues.

There was no evidence of violence, such as blood or signs of a struggle. He did find receipts and odometer readings that George Lorius kept during the trip. Gas receipts were found from St. Louis to Vaughn, then Socorro, with the last receipt dated May 23 at an unknown location. The last positive location of the party was a service station in Socorro. Where did they go from Socorro?

~Paul Hardin, El Defensor Chieftain, 6/7/08


*****

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.


There are all kinds of stories about what could have happened to the Heberer Lorius people, including being buried under a hotel in Vaughn, somewhere near Albuquerque, or south of there. I think they even checked into a motel in Albuquerque which is the area that was searched more because of the discovery of a Suitcase with their things half burned in the mountains east of Albuquerque. There were all kinds of people searching, including hundreds of Indians that could track anything that moved, according to what I read. 

Even the Governor of New Mexico got involved in the search because it would affect the tourists going through New Mexico.  I think that reward of 1000 dollars was offered to anyone who found the killers or the bodies. It took them a whole month to search the area north of Vaughn and by that time all trace of Evidence was gone. 


The Government passed a law [the Federal Kidnapping Law, also known as the Lindbergh Act] that The FBI could get involved in Kidnapping cases. The New Mexico State Police were just getting started at the time, and they were competing with the FBI to Solve the Heberer Lorius case. [I believe that they] withheld evidence from each other, and they ended up Bungling the case and not solving it, according to my Brother-In-Law. 

My Brother-in-Law could have solved the case because the Killer fell on his knees and begged him not to turn him in. He told my Brother-in-Law that [he and his companions] buried [the Heberer Lorius people] in a cave north of Vaughn. They never meant to kill them--just rob them of their Diamonds, Money and Travelers Checks; but they ended up killing them when the [victims heard the robbers] calling each other by their first names. 


My Brother-in-Law spent some time out there searching and going down ropes into caves that I knew about. However, [I believed that] he was searching in the wrong area by about 4 or 5 miles from where the bodies are actually going to be found. Since he couldn't find any bodies he couldn't solve the case. He knew [the murderers] and these men were his friends, even though he never told me that. 


My Brother-in-Law was a very intelligent man who knew most everybody in the State of New Mexico. When other New Mexico State Police came around him they would always salute him. While working under cover, he was stabbed in prison. 


He had all kinds of Memorable stories to tell out over the campfires in the Mountains, where our families would spend several days camping, picking piƱon, playing guitar, and singing around the campfire. All my sisters-in-law were beautiful and very good singers, not to mention very good cooks. One even wrote a book about Mexican Cooking that contained lots of family recipes and for years they all would get a booth at the State Fair and make some good money selling Burritos, Enchiladas and all kinds of Delicious Mexican Cooking. 


The area of the Heberer Lorius people has lots of old graves all over the Landscape and most of them are almost erased by time. Back then, if you didn't get along with your neighbor, he would tell you, "Te voy a tirar al poso," a phrase used back then that meant "If you don't behave I'm going to throw you in the hole." 

Sometimes when I think of the Ghost I saw out there, trying to point to a Distant area which I've yet to search, I think maybe there are lots of other hidden bodies out in these mesas; people who disappeared without a trace. When they start looking for the Heberer Lorius people, if that ever happens, they will end up finding other bodies, which might be in good condition, depending on how well their Tombs were sealed. Even the Heberer Lorius people might be in Good Shape when found if their cave was well sealed. 

One of the favorite ways of getting rid of someone back then in the 1800s and early 1900s is they would conk you over the head and have your horse or burro drag you all over the country until someone found you and there was no way of finding out if you fell off your animal or were murdered. The Book, We Fed Them Cactus, kind of tells a little about the History of that area and the people in that book are probably related to me in some ways and are from the land of my people up in northern New Mexico. 

~El Pintada Kid 




Friday, September 10, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 7. The Kid and the Police

Even today, 75 years after the Heberer Lorius tourists disappeared, the roads 
in New Mexico are long and often little traveled, 
the sky is big, and the land is empty.
(CZ photo, taken near Elephant Butte, NM)




By mid-June [of 1935], updates on the [Heberer Lorius] story were carried in newspapers across the country. It had become a national news story. This exposure was not good for New Mexico as motor-tourism virtually halted for peoples' fear of being killed "in the wilds of New Mexico." Attendance figures from Santa Fe to Carlsbad Caverns dramatically dropped. Newspapers reported the vacationers were killed near Vaughn, near Socorro, near Carlsbad, or near any other place they could think of, thus affecting the reputation of the entire state.


New Mexico Gov. Clyde Tingley offered a $1,000 reward for finding the bodies. He also ordered the National Guard to help the FBI search areas around Vaughn, Socorro and south along Elephant Butte Reservoir to find the bodies — and to save the state's image.

~Paul Hardin, El Defensor Chieftain6/7/08


*****


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.


Since the time my lady friend and I went into the area of the Heberer Lorius people four or five years ago, I haven't been back. I'm very sure with the proof and evidence that I have that this mystery could be solved, although I'm sure there would be lots of people who wouldn't want me to solve it. 

The ranchers aren't too crazy about people coming onto their land. Then there are the relatives of the killers or the ones who helped to hide the bodies. I'm sure it would smear their family names. The guy who plotted the killings and helped kill these people has a name that is one of the biggest in New Mexico. 

Because of the way the State Police Investigators have refused to work with me, I'm not sure I can trust them anymore. I might end up "accidentally" falling off a cliff and they might get the credit solving this Great Mystery. 


I used to talk on the phone and through emails about the case to the New Mexico State Police Investigator Lt. Norman Rhoades. He really thought at the time that I could probably solve the Heberer Lorius case and that was before I knew the exact area and had learned about the important evidence I have now. What puzzles me is why he ceased contact and never tried to hear me on the new evidence I found. He did tell the Albuquerque Journal that he had come to my place with the relatives of the Heberer Lorius people and that I wouldn't come out. But I clearly remember that day he was here in town talking to people with the Heberer Lorius relatives and a Friend of mine, who is interested in the case and wants to help me solve it, called me and asked if I knew that Rhoades was looking for me. I told him that my kids were visiting and no one had called or come over to the house. 


My kids and grand kids were all excited when I told them who might be coming over, but these people never showed up. I thought that was rude.


About a month ago, a friend told me that the Heberer Lorius relatives were in town and measuring some slabs of concrete. He told them if they wanted to solve the Heberer Lorius case, they should talk to the Pintada Kid. They told him they already had. But of course they hadn't.


Lt. Norman Rhoades and the Heberer Lorius relatives left some phone numbers with some people in town which I called in Mississippi.  I told them on the answering machine that I was the Man who could solve the Heberer Lorius case. I left them my phone number a couple of times, but they never returned my calls, so I gave up on them. I also gave up on Lt. Norman Rhoades, who could have called me a day ahead if he really wanted to see me. However,  I'm sure he doesn't really want to see me because of the underhanded way he has played me, along with the Albuquerque Journal, the Media of New Mexico, and the Whole U.S. Media. To me, they are all one, and if I was black or white this Great Mystery would have been solved over 25 years ago. 


~El Pintada Kid

Next week: The conclusion of the Kid's tale, with parts 8, 9, and 10


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Breakfast Delayed, for Skywatch

Beez was looking into the kitchen the other morning to see how the homemade muffins were coming along. All he found was an empty room, a half-assembled batter, and a swinging screen door. Stepping out onto the porch, he saw me scampering down the road to get the best shot of this glorious sunrise. 



The differences are subtle, but here is the same scene, a moment later...




By the way, the muffins were delicious.  For skies from all times of the day and night, and from all over the world, be sure to visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Pintada Kid on the Case: Part 6. The Lady Friend, the Snake, and the Owl

Image from NM State Police website


It was, by many accounts, the largest manhunt in New Mexico history. The decades-old front pages of the Albuquerque Journal tell the story of excited leads and mounting disappointment as a hot 1935 summer wore on. Every single State Police officer - all 27 of them at the time - along with 15 National Guardsmen, 20 members of the 111th Cavalry and 100-plus volunteering Albuquerqueans scoured the east mesas and Tijeras Canyon. A dragnet of vehicles and walkers six miles long combed the miles from Albuquerque to Willard. The search centered on Socorro. The search turned to Carrizozo. To San Marcial. To Gallup. To Quemado. To the Rio Puerco. To the Rio Grande. 


A high-profile case attracts lots of junior detectives: Someone reported blood on a bush. Another a bloodstained bedspread. A woman in Madrid remembered two men borrowing a shovel at 2 a.m. and thought that might have been suspicious.


Leslie Linthicum, Albuquerque Journal, 6/20/10


*****


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.

After finding that decomposed garage, I went back with a measuring tape. I measured the garage--it was 8 feet wide and 16 feet long; the height was over 6 feet. When I talked to the Nash Club of America people they said that model Nash was very famous because of the Heberer Lorius case.  The Nash was 6 feet wide and 15 feet long; and the height was 6 feet, according to a member who owned one of those cars. So the homemade garage I had found could have been made to fit the Nash.  

The next time I went into the area was with a lady friend of mine who is a Painter and wanted to see the area and she loved to walk which worried me a lot because of the Rattlesnakes out in that area and one of the times we got separated I took off in a Certain direction and there was a Marker with a Date on it and an arrow pointing in a certain direction but the date was from the 20s but on trying to line up the marked rock I discovered something more important.


Right there was in front of me a Rock with the Shape of a horse that was in the State Police report that I read many years ago in Santa Fe when I first started working on the case. Back then they one of the people they questioned was asked where the bodies were buried and he replied near this rock shaped like a horse. When asked where the bodies were in relation to that rock he replied DAM CLOSE. 


I was so happy to find this new evidence because I had thought it would be impossible to ever find this rock and here it was in front of me. I took pictures of the rock and went back to my pickup but my lady friend wasn't there and it was getting late so I drove my truck down the road and back and forth looking for her. Still no lady friend. By then I was starting to panic because it's easy to get lost out there or to get bitten by a Rattlesnake. I started honking in short low bursts on the horn, hoping the rancher and cattle didn't hear me. When I finally found her, I wasn't too happy with her taking off like that. Luckily the rancher didn't show up and tell me off. 


We went into the area where the Heberer Lorius people would be found and she was walking all over the place near the Cave Entrances. I told her not to walk in front of me, but to walk behind me. Just as I finished telling her that, I almost stepped on a Rattlesnake that was over 5-feet long. Although there was snow on the ground when we were out there that day, the ground and the rocks get so hot that the Rattlesnakes come out of Hibernation to lie where it's much warmer. 


I didn't want to take my eyes off the Rattlesnake for fear it might come at me so I told my lady friend behind me to hand me a rock so I could hit the big Rattlesnake over the Head with it. I reached back and she placed a pebble-sized rock in my hand--I asked her, Is that the biggest rock you could find?" 


The snake was trying to get away and back into its den so I just swatted it across the back of its head to keep it from going into its den. It turned on me and I Stuck my Ski pole/walking stick into its head and then placed its head with the ski pole stuck in it on top of another rock. I used another rock to cut its head off. 


My lady friend followed me with the Snake back to the Truck and I took pictures of her holding the snake while making an awful face. On the way back home it started to sprinkle and a Big Beautiful Double Rainbow appeared. I took a few pictures of her under the Double Rainbow and on driving back we had the windows open and a miniature owl* flew in the window of the truck. We had to stop and open the door to let it out again. 


~El Pintada Kid


Tomorrow: We take a break for Skywatch, then on Friday the Kid's tale continues.

*****

*Note: The owl in Mexican culture is a symbol of death.