The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 10, 2010

Albuquerque police release photos in West Mesa murders investigation

Albuquerque, NM — Albuquerque police have released photos of unidentified women in connection with the West Mesa murders investigation that prompted a search of Joplin resident Ron Erwin’s home and business properties in August.

Police Chief Ray Schultz asked for the public’s help in identifying seven women pictured in six photos. Four of the women appear to be unconscious in the photos. None of the women are among the 11 female victims whose skeletal remains investigators uncovered on West Mesa in February 2009 along with the bones of an unborn child. All of those women have been identified.

The police in Albuquerque have declined to say how the photos released Thursday were obtained.

Thousands of photographs, including many of women, were among the property seized in searches of Erwin’s properties. Erwin is a photographer who has operated a studio in Joplin for a number of years and was known to travel to Albuquerque during the period that the West Mesa victims went missing, between 2003 and 2005.

Investigators reportedly returned two cameras last week to Erwin, but Albuquerque media are reporting that a camera strap belonging to Erwin was retained by police.

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