NATIONAL NEWS

Texas man accused of killing New Mexico women and kidnapping an infant faces federal charge

May 15, 2024, 2:22 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Texas man accused of fatally shooting two New Mexico women and taking one of their children and seriously injuring another is now facing a federal kidnapping charge.

Alek Isaiah Collins, 26, appeared Tuesday before a federal judge in Abilene, Texas. He will remain in federal custody pending extradition to New Mexico, where he already faces state charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Samantha Cisneros and Taryn Allen, both 23.

The women’s bodies were found May 3 in a park near Clovis, New Mexico, which is close to the Texas border. Authorities also discovered Cisneros’ 5-year-old daughter had been critically wounded and that her 10-month-old daughter was missing.

That kicked off a frantic search. With little to go on, investigators used cell phone records, surveillance video from stores in Clovis and a piece of a broken mirror from a vehicle to track down Collins in Texas.

The girl was found with Collins three days later. Authorities said she was unharmed.

Authorities have said a motive for the shootings and kidnapping remains unclear as Collins isn’t related to any of the victims.

District Attorney Quentin Ray told The Associated Press in an email that the investigation is ongoing.

“The community is heartbroken over the loss of these two vibrant lives and is concerned for the health of the 5-year-old girl,” Ray said. “We have seen an outpouring of love, concern and compassion for the families, in addition to overwhelming gratitude to the law enforcement entities who rescued the baby so quickly and put the alleged perpetrator behind bars.”

A public defender who is representing Collins has not returned messages seeking comment.

According to filings in both state and federal court, Collins rented a car in Texas and drove 270 miles (435 kilometers) to Clovis on May 3. The cell phone records obtained by investigators showed Collins was in the vicinity of the park around the time of the shootings and the kidnapping.

Evidence recovered from the scene included bullet casings and the piece of broken mirror from the vehicle that Collins had rented. Surveillance video showed a car — its license plate matching that of the rental car — with a broken mirror in a fast food drive-thru in Clovis.

Authorities said Collins failed to return the rental car on time and it was remotely disabled by the owner after Collins returned to Texas.

Abilene police preparing to execute a search warrant at a home where Collins was staying reported seeing him carjack an SUV at gunpoint on May 6. They stopped the vehicle, arrested Collins and found the baby girl safe in a rear passenger seat.

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Texas man accused of killing New Mexico women and kidnapping an infant faces federal charge