Who They Were: The 23 People Lost to Overdoses in 2018

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The following 23 people died of drug overdoses in Rio Arriba County in 2018. In each of these cases, the manner of death was listed as an accident by the Office of the Medical Investigator pathologist, who conducted the autopsy or wrote the autopsy report. Deaths where drugs were just a “contributing factor” were not included as the main cause of death was not a drug overdose or acute poisoning.

Heroin was involved in the most number of deaths, with the drug listed as a cause in nine of the deaths in 2018. Alcohol and Cocaine were the second most common drugs resulting in overdose with each as contributing or sole factors in six deaths.

One death was the result of an alcohol overdose but that death has been listed separately at the end of this list because alcohol overdoses has not been counted in previous year data. Additionally, the death occurred in the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and those deaths have not previously been included in the data set.

Two deaths this year happened  on local Pueblos with both Santa Clara Pueblo and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo reporting one death investigated by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. Those deaths are listed separately as they were not counted in all previous years.

This list does not include deaths that happened in Santa Fe County, which includes parts of Española, Chimayó and Santa Cruz.

All information below came from documents provided by the state Office of the Medical Investigator or from police reports from the agencies that investigated the deaths. Reports from the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office and the Española Police Department were not included in this year’s report because the agencies did not return the requested public records. Records requests were submitted to both agencies May 9. The Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office did return some reports in mid-August, however, they provided documents from 2019, instead of reports from 2018 as requested.

The list has been sorted by the date of death.

 1. Joe Mascarenas

Age: 39

Location of death: Chamita

Pronounced dead: Jan. 5

Cause: Toxic effects of multiple drugs including oxycodone, morphine, alprazolam and diazepam.

Joe Mascarenas, of Chamita, enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson motorcycles, his obituary states. He was self-employed and loved spending time with his wife and grandchildren.

Autopsy reports show Mascarenas was found unresponsive in his home and his wife attempted to adminster Narcan. He had prescriptions for oxycodone, oxycontin and xanax.

2. Christopher Garcia

Age: 39

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: Jan. 13

Cause: Toxic effects of multiple drugs including cocaine, suboxone and nordiazepam

Christopher Garcia, of Carlsbad, was born in Taos. He was an avid hunter and loved fishing. He left behind five children and numerous other family members, his obituary states.

Autospy reports show Garcia died from an upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage and cardiovascular disease were significant contributing conditions to his death.

3. Henry Adelino Trujillo III

Age: 48

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: Jan. 26

Cause: Pneumonia due to alprazolam, hydrocodone and methadone toxicity

Henry Trujillo, of Española was an artist, his obituary states. He worked in painting, masonry and general construction. When he wasn’t at work, he enjoyed hunting, fishing and being outdoors. He left behind a daughter and other family members.

Autopsy reports show Trujillo had complained of not feeling well the day before his death. The autopsy found that the concentration of drugs in his system made him more vulnerable to pneumonia and were the underlying cause of death.

4. Carlos E. Vigil

Age: 44

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: Jan. 27

Cause: Heroin and ethanol toxicity

Carlos Vigil, a resident of Nambé, lived there all his life, his obituary states. He left behind a son.

Autopsy reports show Vigil was found unresponsive on the couch at a friend’s house and efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

5. Everardo Baca

Age: 36

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: Feb. 5

Cause: Toxic effects of methamphetamine

No obituary for Everardo Baca could be located.

Autopsy reports show Baca had a seizure prior to becoming unresponsive. His significant other reported the overdose.

6. Jesus Isaac Rascon Hernandez

Age: 33

Location of death: Velarde

Pronounced dead: Feb. 8

Cause: Toxic effects of heroin

Jesus Rascon Hernandez's obituary states he had a kind and loving nature. He left behind a son and other family members.

Autopsy reports show Rascon was found on the floor of his home when law enforcement arrived to conduct a welfare check.

7. John Michael Guillen

Age: 61

Location of death: Chamita

Pronounced dead: March 13

Cause: Toxic effects of heroin

John Guillen, of Chamita served in the U.S. Army at the White Sands Missile Range, and in Fort Greeley, Ala., where he was a chef. He enjoyed music and cooking, and was an avid outdoorsman. He left behind two sons.

Autopsy reports show Guillen was found dead in his bed, Heroin caused a central nervous system depression along with respiratory depression that caused his death.

8. Tito Espinoza

Age: 46

Location of death: Chimayó

Pronounced dead: March 18

Cause: Heroin toxicity

No obituary could be located for Tito Espinoza.

Autopsy reports show Espinoza, a resident of Chimayó, was last seen alive the night before his death. He was discovered at home, dead.

9. Peyton Baldridge

Age: 58

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: April 13

Cause: Toxic effects of morphine, codeine and diazepam

Peyton Baldridge was a professional horse trainer and handler in her early life, and later worked with youth and 4-H groups. She also worked rescuing animals and helping other with their pets.

Autopsy reports show Baldridge was found unresponsive in a friend’s home, emergency medical services were notified but she was already dead.

10. Andrew Herrera

Age: 27

Location of death: Rio Arriba County

Pronounced dead: May 12

Cause: Methadone, bupropion, hydroxyzine and alcohol toxicity

Andrew Herrera was a resident of Española. He left behind two sisters.

Autopsy reports show Herrera was found unresponsive on his grandmother’s couch and that relatives said he had been experiencing alcohol withdrawal.

11. Patrick Perea

Age: 30

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: May 20

Cause: Toxic effects of ethanol, cocaine and buprenorphine

Patrick Perea was a resident of Santa Cruz. He is survived by two daughters.

Autopsy reports show Perea was found unresponsive in his home by a friend. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

12. Keith Edward Mitran

Age: 69

Location of death: Western Rio Arriba County 

Pronounced dead: May 25

Cause: Intracerebral hemorrhage due to methamphetamine intoxication

No obituary could be located for Mitran.

Autopsy reports show Mitran was found deceased in his bed.

13. Irving Antonio Alvarado Garcia

Age: 19

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: June 1

Cause: Toxic effects of ethanol and heroin

No obituary could be located for Garcia.

Autopsy reports show Garcia was found unresponsive under a tree in a public area.

14. Joshua Garcia

Age: 41

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: June 10

Cause: Toxic effects of cocaine, fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl

Joshua Garcia enjoyed playing softball, his obituary states. He spent a lot of time playing ball in Española and White Rock. He left behind three sons.

Autopsy reports show Garcia was found on the floor after a night of drinking. The report said heart disease was a significant contributing factor and made him more susceptible to the drugs in his system.

15. David P. Martinez

Age: 42

Location of death: Abiquiú

Pronounced dead: July 15

Cause: Toxic effects of oxycodone, nordiazepam

David Martinez, of Abiquiú, enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time in the mountains, his obituary states. He was competent with livestock and had a strong mechanical ability. He left behind two children and a wife.

Autopsy reports show Martinez was found in bed by his father, and that he had a prescription for oxycodone. He also had an enlarged heart, which may have been a result of long-term alcohol abuse.

16. Jacqueline Ann Lewis

Age: 59

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: July 25

Cause: Toxic effects of cocaine

Jackie Lewis, of Fairview, was a massage therapist and member of the Holy Family Society of Ranchitos, Capilla de San Miguel. She left behind her siblings and other family members.

Autopsy reports show Lewis was found in her home after her sister asked law enforcement to conduct a welfare check.

17. Max Lucero

Age: 49

Location of death: La Puebla

Pronounced dead: July 29

Cause: Toxic effects of cocaine, heroin, and alprazolam

Max Lucero, of La Puebla, was an artist who worked with pastels, his obituary states. He enjoyed the outdoors, hiking, biking and fly fishing. He left behind four daughters and a wife.

Autopsy reports show Lucero was found unresponsive by his wife who contacted emergency medical services but resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

18. Floyd Atencio

Age: 1975

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: August 6

Cause: Toxic effects of cocaine

Floyd Atencio, of Fairview, served in the U.S. Army for eight years, his obituary states. He was a NASCAR fan, and he enjoyed camping and working on his automobiles. He left behind three children.

Autopsy reports show Atencio was found unresponsive on his living room floor during a welfare check. He was seen alive the night before and may have been intoxicated. Although not listed as a cause of death, autopsy reports state there were numerous alcohol containers present in the home. 

19. Atley Dominic Maestas

Age: 54

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: Aug. 16

Cause: Toxic effects of heroin and ethanol

Atley Maestas, of Ojo Caliente, was a U.S. Coast Guardveteran, his obituary states. He left behind two siblings and numerous other family members.

Autopsy reports show Maestas looked pale and said he felt ill and went to lie down. Hours later, he was found unresponsive. 

20. Joseph Anthony Macandrew

Age: 50

Location of death: Tierra Amarilla

Pronounced dead: Sept. 12

Cause: Toxic effects of multiple drugs methamphetamine, methadone, and morphine

Joseph MacAndrew, of Tierra Amarilla was an artist who worked in metal and stone. He twice survived cancer.

Autopsy reports state MacAndrew was found deceased in his home. He did have a prescription for morphine and methadone, both of which were found nearby.

21. Rumaldo T. Jaramillo

Age: 37

Location of death: Española

Pronounced dead: Sept. 16

Cause: Toxic effects of multiple drugs methamphetamine, heroin and ethanol

Rumaldo Jaramillo, of Medanales, was a plumber and construction worker, his obituary states. He enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. He left behind two children and numerous other family members.

Autopsy reports show Jaramillo was talking with a family member when he became unresponsive. He had been drinking that day. The combination of alcohol with drugs that decreased breathing led to his death.

22. Alejandro Martinez

Age: 38

Location of death: Chimayó

Pronounced dead: Nov. 6

Cause: Toxic effects of heroin

Alejandro Martinez, of Chimayó, enjoyed the outdoors, his obituary states. He spent his time playing with his children at the park and also playing sports with them. He enjoyed cooking for his family as well. He left behind three children and numerous other family members.

Autopsy reports show Martinez was found slumped over near a woodpile in the yard. Resuscitation attempts by his mother and emergency medical services were unsuccessful.

23. Ronnie B. Martinez

Age: 46

Location of death: Cordova

Pronounced dead: Dec. 10

Cause: Toxic effects of methadone, alprazolam, lamotrigine, quetiapine and topiramate

Ronnie Martinez, of Cordova was a self-employed artist who made wood carvings, his obituary states. He left behind three children and numerous other family members.

Autopsy reports show Martinez was found deceased on the living room floor. He had an empty container of methadone that was scheduled to be taken on the day before when he was last seen alive.

 

The following deaths were not included in the count of overdose deaths because previous in previous years the Office of the Medical Investigator did not provide autopsy reports relating to deaths that occurred on Native land.

Included here is one death from acute alcohol poisoning or overdose.

Anthony Abeyta

Age: 28

Location of death: Ohkay Owingeh

Pronounced dead: July 21

Cause: Toxic effects of heroin and ethanol

No obituary could be located for Abeyta.

Autopsy reports show Abeyta was found in a desert area between his house and a casino. He was seen alive at the casino the night before he was found. 

Jason Gutierrez

Age: 43

Location of death: Santa Clara Pueblo

Pronounced dead: Oct. 13

Cause: Toxic effects of cocaine, hypertensive cardiovascular disease, chronic ethanol abuse and obesity

Jason Guitierrez, of Santa Clara Pueblo, was a wildland firefighter and later a tribal ranger for the Pueblo of Santa Clara. He was also a Dallas Cowboys fan and enjoyed the music of KISS. He left behind a daughter and numerous other family members.

Autopsy reports show Gutierrez was found deceased on his living room floor. Cocaine was the cause of death and cardiovascular disease, chronic alcohol abuse and obesity were all contributing factors.

Yvette Puerto Gomez

Age: 58

Location of death: Jicarilla Apache Nation

Pronounced dead: Oct. 14

Cause: Acute ethanol toxicity

No obituary could be located for Gomez.

Autopsy reports show Gomez was found unresponsive in bed after a nap. She had been drinking during the day. There were no other common illicit or prescription drugs in her system.

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