FBI offers $50,000 award for information leading to suspect in Las Cruces church explosions

Las Cruces News

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are continuing the search for the person who set off two explosions in Las Cruces five years ago.

The FBI announced that the reward has more than doubled, and portions of a letter sent around the time of the incidents are being released on the chance it could lead to tips. 

On August 2, 2015, devices detonated about 20 minutes apart at Calvary Baptist Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church. Nobody was injured, according to authorities.

On August 14, 2015, an undetonated device was discovered near the entrance of First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces and rendered safe. 

Investigators believe the device was placed within hours of the other two devices, either in the late hours of August 1 or early morning of August 2, 2015. 

“Fortunately, the devices that went off five years ago didn’t hurt anyone, but had they exploded a few minutes earlier or later, it could have been a different story,” James Langenberg, special agent in charge of the Albuquerque FBI Division, said. “Investigators have conducted more than 700 interviews and reviewed hundreds of files, tips, and other pieces of information in this investigation. We are determined to solve this case.” 

“We’re grateful for the support we’ve received on this case from our local and federal partners,” said Miguel Dominguez, interim chief for the Las Cruces Police Department. “We hope the enhanced reward will lead to the suspect, or suspects, in this case.” 

The FBI has increased its reward from $20,000 to up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the explosions. 

Anyone who recalls seeing something suspicious or knows anything about the explosions is urged call the 24/7 toll-free phone number for tips: 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). 

Authorities are also seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the author of a letter sent around the time of the explosions. 

Portions of the letter appear as follows: 

“Four religious leaders know of three men who were put in mental institutions because they tried to fight back without attorneys for telling the truth. All were scientists at one of the military bases in our area. The religious leaders never came forward to help these men. They are now in hospitals when there is nothing wrong with them.” “Four men had their wives walk out on them while they were in Desert Storm, taking everything our family had for another man.” “When we see these officers of the court arrested and the four religious leaders come forward without political threats, then we will back off.” “You are more dishonest than we are and will have to go over every divorce in the Third Judicial Courthouse to find out who we are and will have to expose just how corrupt the legal system is in Southern New Mexico.” 

The FBI said it would like to better understand the specific issues the author raises.

Investigators said they do not know whether this letter is connected in any way to the incidents involving explosive devices. 

Authorities are still looking for a person of interest in this case.

A man was seen walking through the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church around the time of the explosion there. 

The unknown individual appeared to be wearing a dark blue short-sleeve T-shirt, plaid shorts, and hiking boots. He is carrying a package or bag. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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