By Kevin Wilson
A long wait for DNA evidence is a common point in Portales’ two homicide investigations.
Seven weeks after the June 14 stabbing death of Jorge Prado of Clovis, no murder charges have been filed and police are still waiting on results of DNA tests conducted on knives and blood found in a residence near the altercation.
Two men initially arrested and charged with aggravated battery in connection with the incident have since been released from jail, Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said on Saturday. Berry said the men are not suspects in the homicide.
Police are also waiting for DNA evidence and an autopsy report on Amber Robinson, 19, who was Portales’ first homicide victim this year, in late April.
Berry said the department is still waiting to do final interviews with Prado’s brother, who left for California shortly after the incident, and a victim of the altercation who has been in Lubbock for treatment.
Berry said the victim was interviewed in Lubbock, but police have developed followup questions in regard to other interviews from the case.
“We think we’re going to get some pretty good interviews, (then) go to the DA’s office (to determine a course of action),” Berry said.
The department sends DNA evidence to a laboratory in Kentucky, where Berry said results can often take six to eight weeks.
Acquiring DNA evidence is usually the longest step of an investigation for any department, but Berry said it’s worth the wait to put together a solid case.
“DNA is a vital part of our investigations right now,” Berry said. “I don’t know how you could proceed without it. It’s obviously good jury evidence to say, ‘This blood matches with this person,’ and you need DNA to do that.”
One arrest has been made in connection wth the Robinson case. Richard Baca, 18, is accused of killing Robinson. The pre-trial for Baca is Aug. 27 and the jury trial is set for Sept. 21.