RUIDOSO, N.M. – The search continued early Tuesday for a 16-month-old boy whose mother was found dead hours after police had answered a call of an argument between the woman and her husband.
New Mexico state police issued an Amber Alert for the toddler, Justin Black (search), who was in the apartment when police responded to the initial call of a verbal dispute around 1 p.m. Sunday between Ivan Villa (search) and Kristy Black.
"A husband and wife were arguing," Ruidoso police Detective Jim Biggs said. "They agreed to separate and he left. There wasn't an arrestable offense then because there were no signs of physical violence."
Several hours later, and the child, who is not Villa's, were gone. Police issued a warrant for Villa's arrest on a charge of kidnapping.
Biggs said tips were pouring in but so far nothing has led to the child or Villa.
Authorities weren't sure what kind of bond or relationship Villa and the boy had developed over the six months that Villa was married to the child's mother.
The couple married last September in Ruidoso Downs.
"They knew what they were getting into because she called me four or five times and even came by to see me at court," said Municipal Judge Harrold Mansell, a family friend who presided over the couple's ceremony.
"When they got married, they acted perfectly happy to me," he said.
The couple had separated recently and Kristy Black had lived in El Paso, Texas, before moving back in with Villa last week, according to police.
Officers were called to the couple's home last Wednesday because of an argument, but police saw no evidence of a physical altercation.
"Mainly what we hear is they were arguing about money," said Ruidoso police Capt. Wolfgang Born.
When police responded the first time Sunday, Born said Villa claimed Black had taken his car and Black said Villa had taken her purse.
"It was a he-said, she-said thing," Born said.
Police later found Villa's car behind a local hotel.
Villa, 22, has ties to the Houston area, and police believe he may be headed there. Villa also has family in the El Paso area and in California.
The Amber Alert went throughout New Mexico and into Texas, but state police Lt. Jimmy Glascock said the information went nationwide through police channels and groups that put out alerts on missing children.
The toddler has brown eyes and brown hair. Villa is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and a goatee. He was believed to be driving a silver or gray 2000 Ford Mustang (search) with New Mexico license plate GBN805, Glascock said.