UPDATE: NMSU Officials say burned body found on campus is a male
Las Cruces, NM (KTSM) — UPDATE: New Mexico State University Deputy Police Chief Andy Bowen says that officials have determined that the body discovered in the culvert near campus is that of a male.
No determination as to the man's age or identification could be made. The body was sent to the University of New Mexico Medical examiners in Albuquerque for a full autopsy, which could take up to 90 days.
NMSU Officials continue to stress that there is no immediate danger posed to the NMSU community, and NMSU has no active missing persons cases that would lead them to believe the individual was connected to the University.
TUESDAY: A joint investigation between the New Mexico State Police, NMSU Police Department, NMSU Fire Department and New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator is underway in Las Cruces on the eastern edge of the NMSU Campus Tuesday morning.
NMSU Police Chief Stephen Lopez said that a call came into the NMSU Police at approximately 12:32 p.m. Monday afternoon reporting smoke coming from a culvert tunnel under Interstate 25 adjacent to the Tortugas Arroyo off of Triviz Rd. The area is near the NMSU student tailgating section at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
When emergency crews arrived on the scene, investigators discovered a partially burned body inside of the culvert. Due to high levels of carbon monoxide within the small area, crews were reportedly unable to access the culvert or the body to begin investigation until Tuesday.
In a statement sent by NMSU Police Chief Stephen Lopez, he said " I am saddened to report there was a tragic incident near the Las Cruces Campus earlier today." Lopez went on to say "At this point there is no indication of a threat to the greater university community. The investigation into the identity of the individual and the cause of death are still underway and will last at least into Tuesday at the scene."
The New Mexico Department of Transportation is assisting NMSU Police with the closure of Triviz Drive at Stewart Street in the southbound lanes and detours through the intersection of Wells Street and Geothermal Dr. at the Dr. C Quentin Ford underpass. Closures will begin at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday and will be lifted by 1:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Due to the high levels of carbon monoxide, investigators have been unable to determine if the body located in the culvert was male or female or if they were a member of the NMSU community.
Anyone with information regarding what may have led to this situation or the identity of the person found is asked to please contact the NMSU Police at (575) 646-3311.