Two arrested in Santa Rosa for three ABQ homicides

J.R. Oppenheim and Mike Anderson
June 02, 2017 08:23 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The murders of three people in Albuquerque -- a young mother, a 25-year-old son, and a man who won big at a casino -- initially appeared to be separate acts. Yet police reports reveal methamphetamine, a white Nissan Versa and bullet casings emerge as common links between them.


Authorities say they arrested two people suspected to have killed those three people in three different shootings last month. According to the Albuquerque Police Department, New Mexico State Police apprehended Yoan Pena Santiesteban, 34, and Gloria Chavez, 26, in Santa Rosa Tuesday afternoon.

An APD statement released Thursday said the suspects admitted to killing Samir Al-Abboudy on May 14, Celina Arellanes on May 24 and Matthew Severinghaus on May 26. Both Santiesteban and Chavez are charged with murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and tampering with evidence.

Yoan Pena Santiesteban, 34, and Gloria Chavez, 26

Albuquerque Police Department

NMSP officers found a stolen Nissan Versa in Santa Rosa and pulled it over, taking Santiesteban and Chavez into custody, APD said. Officers discovered Al-Abboudy owned the Nissan, and APD detectives interviewed the suspects.

Investigators then learned Santiesteban and Chavez intended to rob Severinghaus and Al-Abboudy, but APD said the suspects killed both victims "for no known reason." APD also said Arellanes was not an intended target.

Shell casings found at each crime scene reportedly helped connect Santiesteban and Chavez to the homicides. The following is a timeline of events as documented in four police reports:

For mobile users, click here to view a Google Map illustrating the timeline of events.


APD responded to the first homicide at a Days Inn on Menaul on May 14 around 11:20 p.m., finding Al-Abboudy deceased in a motel room. A police report states Al-Abboudy won more than $22,000 at a casino earlier that night, then bought a white four-door car with some of his winnings.

At some point, Santiesteban and Chavez head into the motel room to purchase some methamphetamine. The criminal complaint from the May 14 incident states an argument ensued. Santiesteban then pulled out a gun and shot Al-Abboudy.

Four people then fled from the motel, and the police report states Santiesteban takes off in Al-Abboudy's Nissan.

APD collected shell casings at that scene.


Ten days later, according to another police report, Chavez texted a drug dealer looking for meth. Rincon, Arellanes and a third man headed to the Zuni and Wyoming area.

Shortly after the three arrived, a white car pulled in behind them and blocked them in. The criminal complaint states Santiesteban got out of the white car and started firing. The suspected dealer went around his vehicle to put distance between himself and Santiesteban. The shooter ran out of ammunition, re-entered his car and took off.

During the shooting, the criminal complaint states Arellanes was shot while she was in the back seat. She later died.

Investigators determined shell casings from this shooting matched those found from the May 14 murder. They were 7.62x25 caliber rounds.

The dealer reportedly believed Chavez "set him up," according to the police report.


Then on May 26, Severinghaus was leaving his home for work on the 13000 block of Cedarbrook Avenue near Montgomery and Tramway boulevards. Witnesses told officers Severinghaus got out of his car when a white vehicle pulled up. A man exited the white car and started shooting, the police report for this investigation states.

Police say the shooter then approached the driver side door, pulled Severinghaus out and bent him over.

Shell casings -- 7.62x25 caliber rounds -- from this scene matched those in the previous murders.

Santiesteban is mentioned in a separate police report stemming from an incident three-and-a-half hours after the Cedarbrook shooting. According to that document, Santiesteban tried to change the PIN on Severinghaus's ATM card.

Bank officials noticed Santiesteban wasn't Severinghaus and called the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office. Santiesteban was then taken into custody and charged with identity theft. However, the report states Chavez drove off.

According to APD's statement, Santiesteban told deputies he found the wallet but did admit to using the card at a bank.

Investigators attempted to reach Severinghaus but couldn't because he was already dead.

Based on the police report on the identity theft charge and on APD's statement, it does not appear deputies had information at the time regarding the shooting on Cedarbrook or Severinghaus's death from earlier that day. APD said detectives did not have any evidence to link Santiesteban to the homicide at that time.


Santiesteban bonded out of jail and reconnected with Chavez. Investigators said she suggests the two head to Santa Rosa to stay at her parents' house, so they leave in the stolen Nissan Versa.

New Mexico State Police pulled over the Versa for speeding on I-40, and the two were arrested.

Investigators said the gun was sold for meth after the third murder.

In the police reports describing the homicide investigation, Chavez reportedly told detectives she and Santiesteban were involved in the deaths.


J.R. Oppenheim and Mike Anderson

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