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Crime News

Convicted Sex Offender’s Ankle Monitor Leads Police To Body Of Wife In New Mexico Woods

Erica Zamora was allegedly bludgeoned to death with an axe by her husband, Armando Zamora, in New Mexico's Gila National Forest last month, police said.

By Dorian Geiger
Armando Zamora Ap

A convicted child sex offender’s ankle monitor ultimately led to his arrest this week in the axe murder of his wife, who vanished after entering a wooded area with her husband last month.

Erica Zamora went missing from her home in Rio De Arenas in Arenas Valley, New Mexico on Sept. 26, police said. Prior to her disappearance, she’d been chopping firewood with her husband, Armando Zamora, in a nearby forest, according to a Wednesday press release from the New Mexico State Police. 

Zamora later told authorities that he’d dropped his wife off at home around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 28; a missing and endangered person advisory was soon issued for the 39-year-old woman.

At the time of his wife’s disappearance, Zamora, who was on probation for sexual contact with a victim under the age of 13, was wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor. He had previously been convicted on two counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor stemming from a 2019 incident, according to the La Cruces Sun-News. The outlet also reported he had filed for divorce in June.

Investigators, who analyzed the ankle monitor’s GPS coordinates from the day Erica Zamora disappeared focused their search efforts on the wooded location where the married couple had been gathering kindling. 

"A sergeant searched the area and located a deceased female matching the description of Erica Zamora," New Mexico State Police Public Information Officer Lt. Mark Soriano told the outlet. "A sergeant searched the area and located a deceased female matching the description of Erica Zamora."

A body was subsequently discovered there by law enforcement and the local Office of the Medical Investigator later confirmed the dead woman’s identity as Erica Zamora.

Zamora later confessed to fatally attacking his wife with an axe during a police interview on Oct. 3.  He was charged with one count of open murder in his wife’s death.

The investigation into Erica Zamora’s murder remains open and active. The Sixth Judicial District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case. Zamora is being held at the Grant County Detention Center. He has requested a public defender but attorney information wasn't immediately available on Thursday. He's scheduled back in court for a pre-trial detention hearing and a preliminary examination hearing on Oct. 13.

A spokesperson for the New Mexico State Police didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s questions surrounding the case on Thursday.

Anyone with additional information related to the case is urged to contact the New Mexico State Police at 575-382-2500.