EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A Las Cruces notorious 2017 cold case has finally come to a conclusion with the sentence of a man who pleaded guilty.

Justin Bullock pleaded guilty to 1 count of voluntary manslaughter and 1 count of robbery. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The 2017 cold case homicide investigation was opened by Doña Ana County Sheriff’s department investigators when they were able to recover evidence utilizing new technology. 

On Thursday, August 3rd, 2017, Sheriff’s Deputies discovered the body of Dakota Lunceford lying in a ditch canal on Paisano Road in Mesilla.  In a field nearby a farmer located a woman’s purse with a key, menthol cigarettes and other items, but not her phone.  

Investigators contacted Dakota’s family and learned that he had taken a bus from Alamogordo to Las Cruces.  Targeting Dakota’s phone number, investigators were able to track down two calls made to a local number that belonged to a Brianna Terry during the night that Dakota was murdered.  The key found in the purse was confirmed as that belonging to Brianna’s residence.

During the search of the residence, three cellphones were confiscated.  Texts messages of both Brianna Terry and Justin Bullock were located as they were attempting to orchestrate a drug deal between several dealers. 

Dakota was one of the text messages looking to purchase drugs.  Following the timing of the text messages and aligning them with the cell tower pings, investigators were able to pinpoint the location of both Brianna Terry and Justin Bullock as they lead Dakota Lunceford to the area near where Dakota Lunceford’s body was ultimately found.