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Continuing investigation by Roswell Police Department detectives resulted in the arrest Tuesday, Jan. 24, of the suspect in a murder that occurred almost 13 years ago.
What had been a cold case for many years following the shooting murder in February 2004 has turned into a first-degree murder charge against Juan Olivares Jr., 33, who has been living in Avondale, Ariz., for the last three years. Olivares was arrested shortly before 10 a.m. (New Mexico time) at his home in Avondale, a suburb about 20 miles west of Phoenix. Avondale police arrested Olivares on the Roswell warrant obtained by RPD investigators. The RPD lead detective for the case, Robert Scribner, and Det. Chris Bradley traveled to Arizona to be there when Olivares was arrested and questioned the suspect following his arrest.
Olivares, who was 20 at the time of the murder, is charged with killing Jonathan Ledesma, who was 22.
RPD worked closely with the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office in reviving the cold case with further investigation in the years since the murder. RPD also continues to work on other cold cases, particularly murders.
“Although a case is however old, homicides are never forgotten,” says Commander Levi Moody of the RPD Criminal Investigation Division. “They are always being researched and investigated in hopes of giving closure to the victim’s family and bringing justice.”
The murder occurred Feb. 21, 2004, shortly before 1 a.m. in an alley in the 300 block of East Hervey Street in southeast Roswell. Investigators believe Olivares shot Ledesma while the two men were in the alley near the residence of another acquaintance. It is believed some sort of prior personal dispute led to the shooting.
Olivares was also shot that night in the alley, but RPD’s investigation has led detectives to believe Olivares shot himself after shooting Ledesma. Investigators believe Olivares’ wound was self-inflicted to create an injury that was part of a fabricated story Olivares told investigators involving an unknown individual shooting both him and Ledesma that night.
Olivares is being held in a jail in Maricopa County, Ariz., while he awaits extradition to Roswell.