Freedom Newspapers: Eric Kluth
Members of the New Mexico State police investigate a crime scene on Rosevelt Road N 1/2 south of Roosevelt Road 5S where a burned out car was found early Thursday morning.
Roosevelt County authorities are searching for a blue 1997 Ford truck in connection with human remains found in a burned car.
District Attorney Matthew Chandler said the initial investigation showed two bodies in the trunk of the car, which was found about 8 a.m. Thursday on a dirt road a few miles southeast of Portales.
Chandler later said the initial findings were “unconfirmed, but we do have remains of a body or bodies.”
A Thursday afternoon house fire three miles northwest of Portales is apparently related to the car fire, officials said.
"The truck was seen leaving the house fire,” Chandler said. “It did belong to the residents (of the house). Both vehicles involved belong to the residents.”
Authorities said the truck is possibly being driven by whoever started the fires.
Chandler would not release the names of two residents he believes were living in the home and he would not say if those residents are believed to be suspects or victims.
The truck has chrome rock guards, diamond-plate running boards and a gray tool box in the bed. It also has damage to the rear fender, officials said.
Anybody with information on the vehicle can contact Roosevelt County Crime Stoppers at 356-8100.
Chandler said the car is believed to have been burned between midnight and 3 a.m. on Thursday. The house fire started about 3 p.m. on Thursday.
“There were indicators at the house that led us to believe the two fires were related,” said New Mexico State Police Capt. Oscar Gonzales. He would not elaborate. Gonzales said no remains were found at or in the residence.
Chandler said officials were still processing the scene where the remains were found in the car at 9:45 on Thursday night. He did not know if the remains had been removed from the car.
He said medical investigators will likely be needed to confirm the identity of the remains.
The car was found on Roosevelt Road N 1/2, which is east of State Road 88, about 100 yards from South Roosevelt Road 5.
PNT Staff Writer Tony Parra contributed to this report.