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Missing Española Girl Found Dead

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Renezmae Calzada FBI agent James Lujan press conference 9-11-19

"This was supposed to be a news conference for an update but it's um, a bit of bad news," Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan (right) said at the beginning of a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Neither he nor FBI Special Agent in Charge James Langenberg (left) took questions about the case during the gathering.

The body of 5-year-old Renezmae Calzada was found Wednesday in the Rio Grande near Santa Clara Pueblo, according to two sources who participated in the search crew.

Authorities called back search parties shortly after the discovery, and started tearing down a command post they had established at Ohkay Casino, ending a search that involved scores of local and state police officers and FBI agents and even more local volunteers.

"This was supposed to be a news conference for an update but it's um, a bit of bad news," Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan said at the beginning of a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. "Renezmae has been located, her remains have been located."

Lujan asked the community to offer their prayers to the family of the girl, and thanked all the agencies that assisted with the search and recovery of the body.

He and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Langenberg said that there would be no questions concerning possible suspects or other details during the press conference.

Calzada was first reported missing by her mother, Victoria Maestas, via 911 at 7:39 p.m., Sunday, dispatch records show.

Maestas told dispatchers that she was still at work at the Santa Claran Casino but that her daughter had been missing since 9:30 a.m., according to the child’s step-father.

“The father called her (and) said she has been missing since 9:30 a.m. this morning,” dispatchers wrote. “Malcolm Torres is the father. Father hasn’t reported the child missing and thought the (mother’s) family picked her up.”

Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan confirmed at a Monday press conference that one person had been taken into custody, after first being held in investigative detention.

Malcolm Torres was taken into custody at the Dairy Queen on North Riverside Drive, shortly after Calzada was reported missing, dispatch records show.

Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dwayne Epling then took Torres back to the home on Arch Lane.

The rest of the night was spent with different agencies searching the area surrounding the home, and dispatch fielding calls from people who said they may have information about the missing girl.

At one point, a man who identified himself as Calzada’s biological father contacted dispatchers and asked that an officer call him. He declined to comment Tuesday.

Law enforcement set up a command post at the Wise Fire Station on La Joya Street in the early morning hours Monday. From there, the coordinated effort grew with helicopters, ATVs and dive teams searching for Calzada.

Rio Arriba County Deputy Fire Marshal and EMS Chief Alfredo Montoya said the County’s swift water rescue team helped other agencies search a stretch of the Rio Grande near Santa Clara Pueblo on Monday afternoon.

He said the County searched approximately a mile of river somewhere near where the southern Santa Clara Pueblo boundary meets the river. He said the crew did not find any evidence or the missing girl.

Neither the FBI nor the Sheriff’s Office responded to requests for comment on why teams were searching the river or say if they still believed the girl was alive.

Langenberg said the agency got involved within minutes of the Amber Alert being issued. He said he dispatched scores of agents and professional staff to the area who conducted a canvass of the Arch Lane neighborhood.

He said the FBI also brought in experts in social media and digital data as well as evidence response and behavior tracking.

A number of search warrants were filed in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico in Albuquerque, with the help of the FBI, who assisted the Sheriff’s Office. The search warrants were filed under seal and can only be released to law enforcement or with a court order, unlike search warrants filed in state courts.

Sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents were seen Monday in what appeared to be a search of a pickup truck in a fenced area near the Sheriff’s Office.

Rio Arriba County Deputy Fire Marshal and EMS Chief Alfredo Montoya said the County’s swift water rescue team helped other agencies search a stretch of the Rio Grande near Santa Clara Pueblo on Monday afternoon.

“Right now our main concern is to find this young lady,” Lujan said at the start of the Monday press conference. “This is our main concern: to find Renezmae.”

He said the County searched approximately a mile of river somewhere near where the southern Santa Clara Pueblo boundary meets the river. He said the crew did not find any evidence or the missing girl.

Law enforcement was notified Monday that Calzada was a kindergarten student at Fairview Elementary and had been absent from school the week before she disappeared. A parent who volunteered at the school shared the information with police.

Fairview Principal Wilmer Chavarria said Tuesday that Calzada had been a kindergarten student and her last day at school was Aug. 29. He said the girl’s teacher had called to speak with her mother, Maestas, on Sept. 5, after the child missed more than three days of school. Chavarria did not provide details of the conversation between Maestas and the teacher, but said it was not unusual for students to miss multiple days at the beginning of the school year.

He said they have referred two children to the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, but that Calzada was not one of them.

A previously scheduled prayer vigil for Calzada will go on as a memorial at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (9/11) at the gazebo at the Plaza de Española.

The FBI is continuing to assist the Sheriff’s Office with the case, Fisher said Tuesday. He would not say if the case was still being investigated as a missing person case or if the nature of the investigation had changed.

Sheriff’s Office Maj. Randy Sanches and Lujan did not respond to repeated requests for comment as of press time.

SUN Staff Writer Kyle Land contributed reporting to this story.

(5) comments

Ready80

So sad! RIP little angel.


Sal's

Whomever did the deed hopes he/she gets the maximum. Kids are the innocence and pay the price because the parents go through a jealous rage and take it out on their kids. Espanola needs to wake the heck up......


abaca

My prayers go out to thr communnity! May God Bless you with peace and serenity in your hearts! God Bless You!!


wiselychosen

Sadly, where was this little one for 9 hours and no one seems to know? Not judgement just a question. My dog is gone 5 minutes and I am looking.


Chela Archuleta

After 3 days I feel so bad, she is in Heaven!!!!!🙏🙏🙏😢😢😢


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