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Local Arrests Made in Alvarado Murder
Three teenage youths, two from Rock Springs and one from Green River, have been arrested on charges stemming from the murder of 17-year-old Rigoberto “Rigo” Alvarado, whose body was found in a shallow grave north of Rock Springs on August 19. In a joint release, Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell and Rock Springs Chief of Police Mike Lowell said Brady Jacob Trevino, 18, of Rock Springs, Jose Antonio Campos, 18, also of Rock Springs, and a 17-year-old male, a resident of Green River whose name officials are currently withholding, were taken into custody without incident on Friday afternoon by arrest teams from the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office and Rock Springs and Green River Police Departments.
Trevino is charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Campos and the 17-year-old male are each charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
A joint investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and Rock Springs Police Department, augmented by the Green River Police Department, has been underway since Alvarado’s father, Rigoberto Alvarado, Sr., reported him missing to the Rock Springs Police Department on the morning of July 30.
Alvarado was last seen by his family around 8:30 PM on the night of July 29, when he left his family’s home at the Imperial Apartments in Rock Springs in the company of his girlfriend, a minor authorities declined to identify. According to court documents, the girlfriend told investigators the two went to her home in Rock Springs, where they “‘hung out’” until later that night when, at about 11:00 PM, Alvarado “stepped outside of her residence to meet one of his friends, identified as Brady J. Trevino.”
The young woman said she “eventually fell asleep, while Alvarado was still outside of her residence with Trevino. When she awoke several hours later, in the early morning hours of Monday, July 30, 2012, Alvarado and Trevino were no longer outside of her residence, and Alvarado was gone. Alvarado never returned to her residence.”
Contacted by investigators, Trevino told them he picked up Alvarado from the girlfriend’s residence “at or around 11:00PM on Sunday, July 29 2012. While together, Trevino and Alvarado got into an argument. Alvarado left Trevino to ‘walk home’ and ‘cool off,’ and Trevino did not know where Alvarado went. Trevino had not seen Alvarado since that time.”
As described in charging documents, “Preliminary examinations of Alvarado’s, [the girlfriend’s], and Trevino’s mobile phones revealed apparent gaps in text-message and phone-call correspondence between Alvarado, [the girlfriend], and Trevino, beginning on or around Saturday, July 28, 2012 and ending on or around Monday, July 30, 2012... Further investigation and subsequent examination of these mobile phones and their corresponding cellular telephone record data confirmed multiple text-message and phone-call correspondence between Alvarado, [the girlfriend] and Trevino had been deleted from each of their mobile phones.”
On August 19, a group of people exploring the remains of long-abandoned coal camps and coal mining operations outside of Rock Springs near Lionkol Road came upon the body, later confirmed to be Alvarado’s, and notified authorities. Authorities excavated the shallow grave and noted that Alvarado’s hands and feet appeared bound behind his back and his face was “partially covered.”
An autopsy was performed on August 21 in Loveland, Colorado, the results of which “indicated the body had suffered multiple injuries including likely blunt force trauma and gunshot wounds, and forensic medical examiners concluded the death a homicide.” Also, “an additional small-caliber “mushroomed” bullet fragment was located and recovered from the immediate area of the body subsequent to autopsy.”
Detectives and crime scene technicians from the Sheriff’s Office and Rock Springs Police Department searched and processed the scene and recovered a range of physical evidence, including “multiple expended small-caliber ammunition casings and several cigarette butts from the immediate area surrounding the burial vault.” As noted in court documents, “on or around Wednesday, August 22, 2012, during a secondary canvass of the scene for additional items of possible evidence, an expended small-caliber ammunition casing was located and recovered from the immediate area surrounding the burial vault... Investigators noted the empty shell casing looked similar to the empty shell casing seized from one of the vehicles located at Trevino’s residence.”
During the course of the investigation, city and county detectives recovered from Trevino’s residence a small-caliber semiautomatic rifle as well as and “an expended small-caliber ammunition casing and a piece of binding material from inside of two vehicles located at Trevino’s residence.”
Detectives noted that “the expended small-caliber ammunition casing seized from inside of one of the vehicles located at Trevino’s residence appeared similar to several of the expended small-caliber ammunition casings located and recovered from the immediate area surround the burial vault” and “the piece of binding material seized from inside of one of the vehicles located at Trevino’s residence looked similar to the binding material found on the recovered body.”
As a result of well over a hundred interviews and combing through Facebook posts, investigators developed information identifying the 17-year-old male and Jose Campos as associates of Trevino and Rigoberto Alvarado. Detectives also “developed and corroborated [information] identifying Alvarado, Trevino, the 17-year-old male and others as known drug users and associates likely involved in a conspiracy to obtain, possess, use and/or buy and sell illegal drugs, namely marijuana.”
It was also determined that “Trevino’s vehicle traveled to the immediate area of Campos’s apartment on 6 separate occasions over the course of approximately 5 days after Alvarado’s disappearance, beginning on or around Monday, August 13, 2012 and ending on or around Sunday, August 19, 2012.”
During the course of an interview, an incident that occurred around the time of Alvarado’s disappearance was described to detectives wherein “Trevino, Campos and the 17-year-old male were together in Trevino’s vehicle using marijuana belonging to Alvarado. This incident was substantiated through a subsequent interview with [the 17-year-old male]... Through the course of interview, it was determined there was a dispute between Trevino and Alvarado about money and/or drugs owed by one party to another through illegal drug transactions... Through the course of interview, it was further determined Campos likely benefitted from a disputed illegal drug transaction between Alvarado and Trevino.”
In addition, investigators learned that the young woman Alvarado was with the night of his disappearance was Campos’s ex-girlfriend, and “it was further determined Campos had, on more than one occasion and to more than one person, openly expressed his dislike of Alvarado.”
Trevino, the 17-year-old male, and Campos provided DNA samples to investigators, and the Wyoming DCI’s State Crime Laboratory began its examination of the evidence collected in Sweetwater County. On August 31 and again on September 7, detectives were notified that the DNA samples from Trevino, the 17-year-old male, and Campos matched the DNA from seven of the cigarette butts found at the crime scene, further that Alvarado’s DNA was also present on two of the seven cigarette butts, mixed with [the 17-year-old male’s] and Campos’s DNA.
There was more to come from the State Lab, authorities said. As detailed in court documents:
“On or around, Tuesday, September 11, 2012, investigators were notified of the preliminary findings from forensic ballistics comparisons, conducted by personnel from DCI’s State Crime Lab. The preliminary findings from the forensic ballistics comparisons are generally summarized, in part, as follows:
“The ‘mushroomed’ bullet fragment, recovered by investigators from the area of Alvarado’s person subsequent to autopsy, shared the same classifying characteristics unique to a single firearm in the FBI’s General Rifling Characteristics Database – a small-caliber semi-automatic long-rifle of the same make and model as the firearm seized from Trevino’s residence;
“The expended small-caliber ammunition casing, seized from inside of one of the vehicles located at Trevino’s residence, shared the same classifying characteristics (such as firing pin impression, and extractor and ejector marks) as other known casings test-fired from the small-caliber semi-automatic long-rifle seized from Trevino’s residence.
“The expended small-caliber ammunition casing, located and recovered by investigators during a secondary canvass of the immediate area surrounding burial vault, shared the same classifying characteristics (such as firing pin impression, and extractor and ejector marks) as other known casings test-fired from the small-caliber semi-automatic long-rifle seized from Trevino’s residence.”
Trevino, the 17-year-old male, and Campos will likely have initial court appearances Monday in Circuit Court in Rock Springs, as the investigation continues.