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‘I’m Afraid He’ll Kill Me’: ‘Cold Justice’ Digs Into Man’s Unsolved Shooting Murder In New Mexico

Harold Vigil appeared to have died from natural causes in 2016, but it was soon discovered he had actually been shot.

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Original Investigator in Harold Vigil’s Death Speaks
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Original Investigator in Harold Vigil’s Death Speaks

Kelly Siegler and Steve Spingola meet with former Sgt Robert Salazer, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, to get a sense of the original investigation.

In Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Harold Vigil, 63, was known for his quiet and kind disposition and his love for the outdoors, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and his family. Tragically, his life would suddenly be cut short on July 1, 2016.

On that day, Harold had visited his daughter, Valerie, and around 11 p.m. headed home. Five days later, Valerie made a shocking discovery at her dad’s residence. Her father was dead, and he had been for some time. His decomposing body was on a porch.

Valerie summoned law enforcement. Harold’s death was assumed to be from natural causes, perhaps a heart attack. But a bullet was then found in Harold’s spine. His death became a murder investigation that has never been solved.

On an episode of “Cold Justice,” airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen, veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler and homicide investigator Steve Spingola travel to Rio Arriba County, New Mexico to try to crack Harold Vigil’s case.

Working shoulder to shoulder with them are members of the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office: Sheriff James Lujan, Dep. Sheriff Paul Colombe and Dep. Sheriff George Martinez.

Local authorities explain that no shell casings were found near the victim’s body. There were no signs of forced entry or a struggle. Nothing had been stolen. Harold’s vehicles were still on the property. It didn’t appear to be a crime scene and it wasn’t processed as one.

Cj604 Kelly Examines A Ballistic Reconstruction Of The Murder

 

The “Cold Justice” team also learns that in the tight-knit community, Harold had no enemies -- except one. David Vigil, Harold’s uncle, was a prime suspect in the murder, according to "Cold Justice."

There was allegedly bad blood between the two men, who were neighbors, over a land inheritance and access to that property. The bitter feud was no secret in the community, people claim.

Siegler and Spingola take a two-pronged approach to the case. They consider David Vigil a suspect and allow for an unknown suspect who may not have emerged in the initial investigation. 

Forensic pathologist Kathryn Pinneri, M.D. adds scientific expertise based on available evidence. To get a clearer picture of the dynamics of the homicide, ballistics, and weapons expert Chris Robinson recreates how the killer was positioned when Harold was shot at his home.

Witness statements from numerous people including Harold’s girlfriend, friends, neighbors, and family members consistently tell the same story. Harold, as one witness alleges, “got along with everybody.” 

But there was no accord between him and his uncle. A number of witnesses claims that there was a bitter rift between the men and that Harold was afraid of David. One witness describes David as “very vindictive.”

Another witness claims David was an intimidating “bully” who hurled threats that he had a gun in his possession shortly before Harold’s murder. 

Harold had testified in court about the property dispute and David’s violent threats. In a recording obtained by “Cold Justice,” Harold can be heard saying, “I’m afraid he’ll kill me.” Other witnesses told investigators that Harold feared his uncle and had said that if he ended up dead, “that S.O.B. killed me.”

When investigators talk to David Vigil about his nephew’s death, he claims that he and Harold had “no problems.” He also recalled that they didn’t have enough proof to take him to court in 2016.  Asked if he cared if Harold’s killer was found, David tells sheriffs, “I don’t care.”

To learn more about what happens in this case, watch “Cold Justice,” airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen. You’ll find more episodes here.

No one has been charged in Harold Virgil's murder.

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