Home Law and Courts New details emerge in Vanessa Najera murder

New details emerge in Vanessa Najera murder

13 min read

Gabrielle Arsiaga/News-Sun

The Hobbs man accused of murdering his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend and who fled to Mexico, is back in Lea County.

Tony Guadalupe Navarrete, 36, of Hobbs, was charged in Nov. with the first-degree murder of  Vanessa Najera, of Hobbs. He was extradited from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico back to Lea County on Jan. 10. 

Navarrete was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Friday but the hearing was continued to a later date that has not been determined, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Diana Luce said. 

He is charged with first-degree murder, a first-degree felony; and possession of a firearm by a felon, a third-degree felony. He was arrested in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico on Jan. 7 after a traffic stop.

Around 4:15 p.m., Jan. 18, Lea County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 200 block of East Carter Road in reference to an unwanted subject — later identified as Najera according to the criminal complaint. 

Navarrete’s mother was the one who placed the call to law enforcement to have Najera removed from the property. 

When deputies arrived on scene they saw a white Chevy Malibu parked outside of the residence containing Najera with a gunshot wound to the temple. 

Deputies attempted to resuscitate Najera but her body was “cold and stiff.”

LCSO investigators learned Najera’s ex-boyfriend, Navarrete also resided at the home with his parents. 

Navarrete’s mother told deputies she made her son lunch and he left for work around 7:30 a.m. the same morning she called to report Najera in front of the residence.

Investigators searched the home and found boxes of ammunition in Navarrete’s room. 

Deputies searched Najera’s vehicle and a .45 caliber shell casing was found between the rear seat and right rear door, near the floor board. 

A bullet hole was found in the passenger side front seat head rest, and deputies noted the head rest had soot and burn marks on the back of it.

Based on the trajectory of the bullet, according to investigators, the bullet traveled through the head rest and was fired from the right rear seat. 

Investigators also located a small crack in the windshield line, which would align with the trajectory of a bullet being fired through the head rest. 

The bullet projectile was reportedly found by deputies embedded in the dashboard just below a crack in the windshield.

Investigators spoke with Najera’s cousin, and uncle of Tony Navarrete, Jeremy Navarrete. He said he saw the two together prior to Najera being murdered.

Jeremy said he saw them between 1 and 4 a.m., Nov. 17 at his home on the 1400 block of East Linda Lane. 

He said each had arrived in separate vehicles and when Tony arrived, Tony started calling Najera names. 

According to the LCSO report, Jeremy said he intervened and told Tony “he would not allow Tony to disrespect (Najera) in his house like that. Jeremy stated (Najera) would continue the argument after both she and Tony were told not to be disrespectful in his house.”

According to Jeremy, Najera told Tony she loved him and he responded with “love don’t (expletive) do that.”

Jeremy told investigators once the two stopped arguing they were fine, and he told them “I love both of y’all and y’all don’t need to be fighting.” 

He said the couple left around 4 a.m. and didn’t come back that night. He described the relationship to detectives between the two as being “toxic.” 

Jeremy’s neighbors told deputies they are sure Tony owned a 1911 model .45 calibre handgun, which investigators believe is consistent with what killed Najera.

The neighbors to Tony’s parents house, on the 500 block of East Carter showed investigators video surveillance footage showing Najera’s and Tony’s vehicles arriving around 3:25 a.m. 

Najera’s vehicle is seen leaving around 3:28 a.m. and Tony is seen following her in another vehicle with his head lights off. 

Around 3:30 a.m. both vehicles return and park on the south side of the roadway with their lights off. Najera’s vehicle was parked next to the road facing east and Tony’s vehicle was parked in the driveway.

From 3:33 a.m. to 3:51 a.m. Najera’s head lights are seen in the video footage turning on and off. Around 6:19 a.m. Tony’s mother arrives home. Around 7:26 a.m. Tony is seen leaving the home in his vehicle traveling east.

Investigators served a warrant on Najera’s phone and found several voicemails from Tony to Najera.

Of note are several voicemail messages including:

On Oct. 25, Tony is allegedly heard calling Najera several names and then threatening, “…that way when you (expletive) die and come up missing (expletive) they ain’t surprised.”

On Oct. 31 from Tony to Najera, “You wanna be (expletive) funny and call me and then (expletive) still have me blocked … man you really forcing me to (expletive) do what I don’t wanna (expletive) do Vanessa. Keeping (expletive) with me … you keep (expletive) with me on this level (expletive) I’m gonna let you have it watch.”

On Nov. 17, a “mortar strike” is heard with Tony allegedly saying, “Boom.”

On Nov. 18 — the day of Najera was found deceased, and time stamped shortly before the alleged shooting — Tony allegedly tells Najera “Get out of the (expletive) car you dumb (expletive).”

The day prior to Najera’s murder, Tony also allegedly text Najera five times, but Najera only responded once with, “What Tony?” 

In each message Tony allegedly called Najera names and threatened to “shoot u and him when he walks out.”

Just a few hours before Najera was murdered, Tony also allegedly text Najera “(Expletive) like you end up getting vanished. Naw (expletive) I got you fat (expletive), I’m with the grimey (expletive) (expletive) and u gonna learn not to be doing me like this.”

Detectives said Tony was most likely in the backseat when the shooting happened.

“Based on the evidence, it is believed Tony was sitting in the passenger side rear seat of the vehicle,” the criminal complaint stated. “It is believed (Najera) was sitting in the front drivers seat. It is believed Tony discharged a firearm and shot (Najera) in the head resulting in her death. 

“It is believed Vanessa was shot at 3:51 a.m. when her head lights are shown on in the camera footage. It is believed Tony went back into the residence and left the residence at 7:26 a.m. in his vehicle which is reflected on the camera footage.”

In 2010, Tony was charged with aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, a fourth-degree felony. 

He plead on Dec. 23, 2010 and was discharged from probation on July 11, 2012. 

He was also convicted in 2016 of possession of a controlled substance, a fourth-degree felony.

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