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Woman’s carjacking account under scrutiny in deadly crash

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Mar 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 21:50:01-05

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman says was carjacked at knifepoint but state police investigators haven’t confirmed there was another person in the vehicle when it was involved in a freeway crash that killed a Santa Fe police officer and a retired firefighter following a pursuit.

Search warrant affidavits filed to seek DNA and evidence from Jeannine Jaramillo’s cellphone said a police officer at the scene of the crash Wednesday on Interstate 25 near Santa Fe said he saw a woman get out of Jaramillo’s car but no other person, news outlets reported Friday.

Police said after the crash they were searching for a suspect described by Jaramillo as a man she’d dated briefly and that he had abducted her from an apartment complex following an argument.

No arrest has been made, Lt. Mark Soriano, a state police spokesman, told The Associated Press on Saturday in an email.

“This investigation remains active and ongoing, as Investigation Bureau agents continue to gather any and all relevant evidence, interviews, and information,” Soriano said, without elaborating.

Jaramillo, 46, told KOB-TV during an interview on Friday that she was abducted, feared for her life and didn’t see the man get out of her crashed car because she blacked out briefly, the television station reported.

“I crawled out the driver side window, I fell to the ground and I looked up and there was the police, and I just ran for my life, and I was screaming help me,” Jaramillo said. “I’m crying, I was hysterical, I was in shock.”

Jaramillo said it was wrong to suggest she was alone in the car.

“I think people should understand that, when you are involved in a situation like that, I don’t think that it is right for them to say things that have their opinion, like that, until they are in a situation like that themselves,” Jaramillo said.

KOB-TV and other news outlets also reported that court documents said Jaramilllo twice previously had been involved in pursuits after which she had told officers she had been carjacked but no other person was found.

“My life has been pretty rough lately and I haven’t made the best choices in relationships at all,” Jaramillo told KOB-TV when asked about those incidents, which occurred in Cibola County in September and October.

Prosecutors dismissed both cases “pending further investigation.”

The victims in Wednesday’s crash were: Officer Robert Duran, 43, who was part of the pursuit; and Frank Lovato, a 62-year-old retired firefighter from the northern New Mexico city of Las Vegas.

Authorities said Lovato, who was driving a pickup truck, was not involved with the pursuit.