The Latest: Suspect in killing called religiously active

The Latest: Suspect in killing called religiously active

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) – The Latest on the abduction and killing of an 11-year-old girl on the Navajo Nation (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

A woman who knew an 11-year-old Navajo girl and the man accused of kidnapping and killing the child says the suspect was active in cultural and religious life on the nation’s largest American Indian reservation.

Sher Brown, of Lower Fruitland, New Mexico, says one of her brothers knew Tom Begaye, and they regularly went to sweat lodges and church meetings on the Navajo Nation.

The U.S. attorney’s office in New Mexico says investigators found and arrested Begaye on Tuesday night at a sweat lodge outside Shiprock. Sweat lodges are considered sacred places.

Brown says she was shocked by the allegations.

She says victim Ashlynne Mike and her siblings would play at Brown’s brother’s house, where Brown remembers braiding the girl’s hair. She described the girl as kind and obedient.


11:15 a.m.

Authorities say an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was abducted from a school bus stop and killed was hit twice in the head with a tire iron.

A criminal complaint released Wednesday details how Ashlynne Mike died and a motive for the attack on the Navajo Nation.

Tom Begaye told investigators his motive was to have sex with the girl. He is facing murder and kidnapping charges and made his first court appearance Wednesday in Farmington, New Mexico.

According to the complaint, Begaye lured Ashlynne into a van Monday afternoon by offering to take her to a movie. Her younger brother joined her.

Begaye told investigators he drove the siblings out to a remote area along a dirt road. The brother later was freed.

Search crews found Ashlynne’s body Tuesday morning.

Begaye doesn’t yet have an attorney.


10:45 a.m.

A man suspected in the death of an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped from a school bus stop on the Navajo Nation is facing murder and kidnapping charges.

Tom Begaye made his first court appearance Wednesday in Farmington, New Mexico. The 27-year-old man shuffled into the courtroom in shackles but stayed quiet as some of the victim’s relatives and other community members listened to the charges being read.

As he was taken away from the Municipal Courthouse in an SUV, people outside yelled profanity.

Federal authorities say he lured Ashlynne Mike into a van after she got off a school bus Monday afternoon. Her body was found Tuesday morning south of Shiprock, New Mexico.


8:40 a.m.

New safety measures are taking hold on the Navajo Nation following the abduction and death of an 11-year-old girl.

Ashlynne Mike was lured into a van after getting off a school bus Monday afternoon and her body was found Tuesday morning south of Shiprock, New Mexico.

Tribal President Russell Begaye says children need to be taught about “the dangers of strangers” and that adults shouldn’t let children out of their sight for extended periods of time.

The school district serving the rural area where the girl lived says students whose parents aren’t present when the children are dropped off at bus stops will be taken back to the school.

The FBI says a 27-year-old man from nearby Waterflow has been arrested in the girl’s abduction and death.


8:30 a.m.

A 27-year-old New Mexico man arrested in the abduction and death of an 11-year-old girl on the Navajo Nation is expected to appear in court Wednesday.

The FBI says 27-year-old Tom Begaye of Waterflow, New Mexico, will appear before a federal magistrate in nearby Farmington.

Ashlynne Mike was abducted in the Fruitland area Monday afternoon, and searchers found her body Tuesday morning south of the monolithic rock that gives the community of Shiprock its name.

The girl and her 9-year-old brother were picked up by a man described as a stranger who lured them into a van by offering to take them to watch a movie.

The boy got away and was found by a passer-by.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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