- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico family reported their son missing and discovered that he had died and police had failed to tell them.

Santa Fe police asked Las Vegas, New Mexico, police to provide a death notification for 48-year-old Tony M. Trujillo Jr., a licensed practical nurse who commuted from Las Vegas to work in Santa Fe, the Las Vegas Optic (https://goo.gl/NRYVtZ ) reported.

His body was found March 31 in a car that was in a restaurant parking lot for a few days. An autopsy found he died of natural causes.

Trujillo’s relatives learned of his death Saturday when they told New Mexico State Police that he was missing.

“As they were filing the report, the officer helping them typed in Tony’s information and found there were hits from Santa Fe,” said Louie Trujillo, the deceased man’s uncle.

The officer called Santa Fe police, was told of the death and then informed the family members.

Louie Trujillo said he and his family are extremely upset.

“They worried all this time,” he said of family members. “It’s just terrible.”

Las Vegas Police Chief Juan Montano said the notification request was overlooked at his department’s dispatch center.

Montano said his department plans to institute policies to prevent a similar error in the future.

“We will take responsibility for the part where we failed, but there’s also some other issues,” Montano said. “It wasn’t just our breakdown.”

Montano said originating agencies normally reach out to confirm that requests have been handled, but that didn’t occur in this case.

Santa Fe police Lt. Andrea Dobyns said the county-operated regional dispatch center that sends out teletypes like those requesting the death notification typically doesn’t follow up unless it hears back that an agency is having trouble making the notification.

If they don’t hear back, they assume the notification has been made, she said.


Information from: Las Vegas Optic, https://www.lasvegasoptic.com

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