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2 New Mexico murder cases with suspects attempting suicide within span of 2 days

Juan Lopez-Banos
Juan Lopez-Banos seen in his police mugshot.
Heriberto Vasquez-Gutierrez
Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office
Heriberto Vasquez-Gutierrez.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Two murder cases in New Mexico with the alleged suspects attempting to kill themselves in the span of several days. 

Juan Lopez-Banos is accused of killing his wife, 41-year-old Amberly Busby Lopez, then attempting to kill himself on Saturday on the 3100 block of Posada Court in Las Cruces. 

According to Las Cruces Police, Lopez-Banos and his wife were having marital problems. Lopez-Banos texted a relative that his wife was going to leave him. Several hours later, he them another text saying he had stabbed her. 

According to the 911 call obtained by ABC-7,  Lopez-Banos’s son called and told the operator his father told his uncle that he has killed his wife and was planning on killing himself. 

“I’m outside his house,” said  Lopez-Banos’s son, Juan Lopez in the 911 call. “Nothing’s on. All his vehicles are here. This is why I feel like it’s not normal for them to have all their lights off or not answer any phones of nothing. Everything is pitch black in his house that’s why I’m like worried to go inside or not.” 

When police arrived they found Amberly Lopez on the dead on the floor and Lopez-Banos with several cuts on his wrists and a knife to his chest, according to Las Cruces police. 

He was taken to a hospital where he admitted to stabbing his wife. He has since been released and his being charged with first-degree murder. He was booked into the Dona Ana County Jail without bond. 

On Monday, Heriberto Vasquez-Gutierrez of Anthony was arrested after he allegedly tried to kill his ex-wife and then reportedly attempted suicide. 

It happened in the 3000 block of Ortiz Road. According to a police statement of fact obtained by ABC-7 Vasquez-Gutierrez and his ex-wife, Cecilia Gutierrez, had been separated for about six or seven years. Vasquez-Gutierrez had allowed Vasquez to live at the home. 

The statement of fact alleges that around 10:30 a.m. Monday, Vasquez-Gutierrez and Gutierrez had an argument over a dirty microwave causing his to get upset. He then allegedly pushed her against the wall, cut her throat with a knife, and hit her head with a hammer multiple times. 

According to the court document, Vasquez-Gutierrez tried to call 911 but didn’t know how to  use the phone. He then allegedly attempted suicide by taking medication then fell asleep. After waking up, the document states Vasquez-Gutierrez tried to hang himself after seeing Gutierrez on the floor bleeding but changed his mind and called 911 at 6:20 p.m., eight hours after the alleged incident took place. 

In the 911 call obtained by ABC-7, Vasquez-Gutierrez's voice is low and muzzled. "My wife, she’s been on the floor,” he said in the 911 call.

"Is she injured," the operator asked. Vasquez-Gutierrez replied, yes.

"Is she able to speak with you," the operator asked. "A little bit,” Vasquez-Gutierrez said.

A pretrial hearing for Vasquez-Gutierrez is scheduled for Friday. 

Which both cases involving attempted suicides, ABC-7 asked mental health specialists what need to be done in order to prevent incidents like these from escalating. The key is to check in with yourself and educating yourself on mental health and the services provided in the area to help. 

“Mental health is everyone’s concern really being prepared kind of like having your mental health on check, going to a therapist and getting those tools so when you are faced with something stressful…you’re ready because you received these tools,” said Luis Chavarria, manager of community education with Emergence Health Network. 

“Physical health, mental health, it’s all connected,” Chavarria said. “We have to be cognizant and aware. By handing those things we can prevent many things. It’s kind like going to a dentist. You go get a cleaning to prevent a root canal.” 

Some warning signs of a mental health crisis include, inability to cope with a daily task, displays of abusive behavior, rapid mood swings, isolations, increased agitation, or suicidal thoughts. 

“If you know somebody that might be going through something, maybe they’re in a dark place or just need a little bit of assistance, by all means we have a bunch of clinics around the region,” Chavarria said. 

For more information on the services provided, click here. 

If you or anyone you know if suffering from a mental illness, call the Emergence Health Network Crisis Hotline at (915)-779-1800. 

Article Topic Follows: ABC-7 Alert Center

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Brianna Chavez


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