ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Police said Wednesday that they have unearthed an 11th body from Albuquerque's largest crime scene ever: a mesa west of the city where remains were discovered after the area was razed for a housing development.
Police also said they had made only their second victim identification so far: Michelle Valdez, who disappeared in 2005 and was pregnant when she died. Police count her fetus among the 11 victims.
Valdez, who was identified through dental records, and the other identified victim, Victoria Chavez, are included in a list of 16 women who went missing in Albuquerque between 2001 and 2006. The women all struggled with drug addiction, had a history of prostitution and led transient lives.
Police have been searching an area 30 yards by 10 yards since Feb. 2, when a hiker found a human bone on the mesa. The most recently discovered body was unearthed Tuesday evening.
Police suspect one person is responsible for burying the bodies, but say it is premature to name suspects.
Police have said Valdez had been about four months pregnant.
Her mother, Karen Jackson of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said though her daughter had made some bad decisions, she was loved by her family.
"We never gave up trying to find her," Jackson said.
Valdez's father, who lives in Albuquerque, reported her missing months after she stopped coming around to borrow money and check in with her family.
Jackson said Valdez leaves behind two children, but declined to say who's caring for them.