Man suspected in Albuquerque double-homicide arrested in El Paso

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A 20-year-old Albuquerque man was arrested in El Paso this weekend for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her mother in their home near the University of New Mexico Friday.

Jesus Cartagena, 20, turned himself into El Paso Police on Saturday, telling police that he had “hurt someone really badly.”

He is now charged in the death of his ex-girlfriend Shanta Hanish and her mother, Laura Hanish, a longtime employee with the Bernalillo County Public Defenders Office.

“Police expected right away that there were tension and problems the younger victim and her ex-boyfriend,” says Gilbert Gallegos with the Albuquerque Police Dept.

According to court documents obtained by KTSM, Cartagena and Shanta Hanish were both UNM students who had been dating for about 5-years before they broke up about two weeks ago.

The couple lived together in an Albuquerque apartment for about a year before Shanta moved back into her mother’s Nob Hill home after the breakup.

According to the criminal complaint, Cartagena would follow Shanta to work at the Highland Pool and leave notes on her car saying, “I love you very much.”

At one point, police say Cartagena called Shanta 20-30 times and sent the same text message over and over, that read, “Shanta, please.” Those close to him told officers his behavior became alarming.

“There was a break up involved and he was exhibiting a lot of tendencies that were very concerning, not just to the victim’s family and friends, but to his own family,” Gallegos says.

Police say Cartagena has family near El Paso. Shanta’s car was seen on CBP cameras entering Mexico before he turned himself in to El Paso Police Saturday.

“He self-admitted that he did something terrible when he was in Albuquerque and was still extremely distraught like he told relatives here,” Gallegos says.

On Friday, Laura’s co-workers had gone to the home to check on her after she didn’t show up to work. They found the women’s bodies on the ground inside.

Documents detail the grisly scene, stating that Laura and Shanta Hanish had been stabbed multiple times and were found lying near each other with a knife nearby.

Just days before the Hanish’s murders, Cartagena was evaluated for alleged suicidal thoughts at a local hospital.

Cartagena is being held at the El Paso County Detention Center for two counts of murder out of New Mexico. He will remain behind bars until he is extradited to Albuquerque.

A spokesperson with the El Paso Police told KTSM they expect to release Cartagena’s mugshot Monday.

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