Prior to going in to work Wednesday afternoon, I watched CBS Southwest News at Noon. I learned from my colleague Tom Thorpe’s live report that police were wrapping-up a search in Embudo Canyon (end of Menaul, east of Tramway). Thorpe reported the search was related to the Girly Hossencofft case. I drove out to the site about an hour later. Police were gone. I found Mr. Owen Nicholson. He’s a retired PNM worker who hikes the canyon area about three times a week…usually picking-up garbage along the way (likes to do his part to keep the area clean).
Nicholson took me to the place where he says police were standing when they asked him to stay a distance away. When we arrived at that spot, the smell of something dead was distinct. We found a small, dead animal covered with blood (see photos below). A plastic bag was next to the animal and it appeared to have some item of clothing inside, perhaps a shirt. As for the animal, at first I thought it was a rabbit, but then I noticed it had somewhat of a long, thin tail. I could not make out the head of the carcass. It may have been missing. One doesn’t want to get too close to dead animals, especially because of the threat of plague.
Later in the afternoon, I called Albuquerque Police Spokesperson John Walsh. Detective Walsh confirmed that police were looking at the dead animal and “many other things” in the area.
Because they left the animal and bag with clothing item behind, it seems to me that police do not think those findings are significant to the Hossencofft investigation.
Detective Walsh did tell me that more than 20 law enforcement officers took part in the Embudo Canyon search that morning (it began at about 8am and ended around noon). Detective Walsh explained that several officers were on horseback (Mounted Patrol). The detective also explained that the searchers conducted a “grid search” over a large area during the four hour search.
The Albuquerque Police Department also had its helicopter in the air over the canyon. Detective Walsh would not divulge the reason for this search. I asked him if the search was prompted by information from Diazien Hossencofft, a witness, a tip, or by some other evidence. He told me that he could not release that information at this time.
Detective Walsh did tell me there have been many other searches regarding this case in a variety of areas. He wouldn’t tell me where those searches took place. He did tell me several more searches are likely to follow.
As for the hiker, Owen Nicholson, he also took me to another location in the canyon. He said he found something unusual a few weeks ago in the arroyo: A roast, a half chicken, some “chopped up firewood”, and several empty beer cans. He says he picked up the food and cans and put it all in a dumpster in the nearest parking lot. He thought it appeared someone had planned to camp out, then left in a hurry before eating the food. While his hunch may be on the mark, it’s also possible that some kids were partying in the area.
A grand jury continues to consider Diazien Hossencofft’s possible connection to the disappearance of his estranged wife.