October 13, 2018
Two Heber wild horse bachelor stallions were found fatally shot on FS Rd 50 around mile marker 8. We were told the Navajo County Sheriff's Dept conducted an investigation on October 13, 2018 and turned their information over to Forest Service law enforcement.
Robin Crawford went to the district office obtain the contact information for the Sitgreaves law enforcement officer, John Lopez in order to find out what the current status was on the shootings. Forest Service office staff told Robin that they do not have the phone number for Lopez and they have no way to contact him. (We can only speculate as to whether the Sitgreaves Forest Service is so mismanaged that these important numbers are not available to the staff or whether there was a deliberate lack of cooperation.)
Through other means a phone number was obtained for John Lopez. Officer Lopez spoke with Robin and told told her he was unable to give her any information because it is an ongoing investigation and they are working the case. When she asked Mr. Lopez if he could tell her the procedure used to investigate, again he said he was unable to do that because it is an active investigation. She asked if bullets were retrieved from the bodies. He said no information will be given unless an arrest is made.
Previously when Robin had asked Black Mesa District Ranger Richard Madril how investigations of this sort are done he replied,
“We investigate theses incidents as a crime. Scene is investigated, locations of perpetrators, lines of trajectories, or causal factors, and collect any evidence possible. If anything brings identification then it would escalate from there.”
We were told Mr. Lopez had investigated the scene on 10/13/2018. On 10/14/2018, a Navajo County Sheriff’s deputy had been there and left just ahead of our team. When our team arrived they took many photos of the bodies. There were no signs the bodies had been scavenged by animals. The bodies showed no indication an investigation had taken place. There were no signs any bullets had been removed. A metal detector was used which indicated the bullets were still inside the bodies.
October 18, 2018 The bodies of the two wild stallions were discovered to have been buried. We do not know if necropsies were conducted or bullets were retrieved.