Excavation and Rescue Experts Retrieve Body of 4-year-old Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

A crew of excavation and rescue experts worked through the night digging a slanted tunnel to reach the body of Samuel Jones, 4.

They brought the small body to the surface at about 7 a.m. today, according to the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

The boy went missing from his Carlsbad home at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Authorities activated an Amber Alert and a massive search ensued.

Search and Rescue team found Jones’ body Sunday morning at the bottom of a deep, narrow hole near his back yard.

The hole, possibly a former well, is 14 inches in diameter. Jones’ body was at rest some 30 feet beneath the surface.

Sensors lowered into the hole found no sign of life from the boy.

Eddy County Fire Coordinator Robert Brader told the Current-Argus, “It was pretty emotional” and took a moment to compose himself before continuing the interview.

“I have been a paramedic for years and have been at accidents involving children. But this was different,” he said.

Because no one in Carlsbad or Eddy County had done this type of rescue before, Brader said, specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 were brought in to help. Carlsbad physician Kim Lark and her search and rescue dogs were part of the task force.

Brader said that as soon as the call came in that the child was missing, the mobile command vehicle was brought in to provide logistic support along with generators and heaters.

“Throughout the night people were searching for the little boy,” he said. “When the sun came up, someone told us there was a hole in the ground that he may have fallen into.”

That’s when Brader and Scott Maxwell from the Carlsbad Fire Department devised a webcam to put down into the hole, and their worst fears were realized.

Brader said Carlsbad Police and Fire Departments, the county emergency preparedness office, the mine rescue teams, specialists and heavy equipment operators who volunteered their time and equipment, all worked in harmony under difficult and trying conditions.

He said as word spread in the community about the lost child, and the subsequent discovery of his body in the hole, the public turned out in great numbers.

“At times it was overwhelming,” Brader said.


Search Moves From Rescue to Recovery of Missing 4-year-old Boy

Samuel Jones

The body of a child located in a 30-foot deep hole in a neighboring backyard is believed to be that of 4-year-old Samuel Jones of Carlsbad, missing since early Saturday evening.

Fire Department Engineer Scott Maxwell said at a news conference today that the work at the hole, which is just 14 inches in diameter, has moved from a rescue to a recovery operation, according to the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

The hole is in the backyard of a next-door residence west of Jones’ home on Taylor Circle.

Monitoring equipment sent down the hole showed that neither oxygen levels nor temperature levels of the body were those of a living, breathing person.

Maxwell also said that the effort to reach the body would be a long and difficult process.

Experts including miners, construction workers, drillers, rescue teams and mine rescue teams are assisting in the process.

The boy went missing from his own backyard about 6:30 p.m. Saturday and police were called about an hour later when family members could not find him.

Carlsbad Police Chief Danny Fierro said the death will be investigated as a homicide – as is done in all unexplained deaths – until facts prove otherwise.

Amber Alert Issued for Missing New Mexico Boy

An Amber Alert has been issued for Samuel Jones, 4, last seen Saturday evening in Carlsbad. Courtesy/NMDPS

The Carlsbad Police Department has issued an Amber Alert for Samuel Jones, 4, who may have been abducted by a non-family member.

Police fear the child’s life may be in danger.

The boy was last seen playing in his back yard about 6:30 p.m. Saturday near the 100 block of Taylor Circle in Carlsbad, according to authorities.

A report came in saying that a child was seen who fit the boy’s description walking with a white, bald-headed man in a red shirt near Old Cavern Highway and the Carlsbad Irrigation Canal.

The missing boy is described as about 3 feet tall and weighing about 40 pounds. He has short brown hair and hazel colored eyes. He is missing his four front teeth and also has scratches on the left side of his face near his chin.

The boy was last seen wearing a black and white baseball cap, a blue and gray striped long sleeve shirt, blue jeans and black converse tennis shoes.

If you see the boy in Los Alamos or White Rock, contact local police at 662-8222, otherwise call Carlsbad Police Det. Tanya Tiller at (575) 885-2111 with any information relative to the case.

What are the criteria for an Amber Alert?

  • There must be evidence of a non-family abduction;
  • Of a child 17 years of age or less; and,
  • There must be specific information concerning the abductor and/or child, which would prove useful to the public in hopes of recovering the child; and,
  • There must be reason to believe the child in is imminent danger of bodily harm or death.

Police Chief and Chaplain Address Driving Dangers

By Carol A. Clark

Police/Fire Chaplain Cheryl Ridlon and Police Chief Wayne Torpy talk about the "Every 15 minutes" program on KRSN last Wednesday. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy and Police/Fire Chaplain Cheryl Ridlon discussed a prevention program that involves a staged car crash in front of the local high school this spring, during an interview on the Safety and Security Matters radio show on KRSN last Wednesday. The Los Alamos Public Safety Association sponsors the radio program.

“‘Every 15 Minutes’ is an educational experience that reminds us all of the dangers associated with driving while impaired and texting,” Ridlon said.

The program will take place in mid April, she said, adding that the car crash is staged but the emotions that follow are real.

“The ‘Every 15 Minutes’ program is conducted for teenagers and families because our community cannot afford to ignore the devastating impact that a tragic accident caused from someone driving while impaired or distracted could cause,” Torpy said.

Torpy has had to inform a number of parents that their teenager died in a car accident involving alcohol when he was a policeman in Florida.

“It is one of the most difficult duties a police officer has to perform and something I never want to do again,” he said.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that someone dies in a DWI crash every 15 minutes in the United States.

The “Every 15 Minutes” program offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. This emotionally charged program is an event designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving, Ridlon said.

This powerful program will challenge students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved, Torpy said.

Ridlon explained that during the event, the “Grim Reaper” calls students who have been selected from a cross-section of the entire student body out of class.

One student is removed from class every 15 minutes. Students return to class as the “living dead,” complete with white face make-up.

A simulated traffic collision will be viewable on the school grounds. Rescue workers will treat injured student participants.

These students will experience first hand, the sensations of being involved in a tragic, alcohol-related and texting while driving collision.

More details on this event, designed to prevent a tragic accident, will be made available to the community over the next several weeks.

Five LAFD Firefighters Promoted

The Los Alamos Fire Department held a special ceremony Friday at Station 3 in White Rock to honor five firefighters who were promoted earlier this month. Seated from right, Justin Grider promoted to deputy fire chief, Steven Dawald promoted to captain, Chris Bartlit promoted to captain, Dan Duval promoted to captain and Adrian Martinez promoted to driver engineer. Standing at right, Fire Chief Troy Hughes congratulated each firefighter. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

LAFD Union Leader Honored

Capt. Flavio Martinez, left, is congratulated by Fire Chief Troy Hughes at his retirement ceremony Wednesday. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Fire Chief Troy Hughes, coworkers, family and friends honored longtime Los Alamos Firefighter and IAFF Local 3279 Union President Flavio Martinez at a gathering in Fire Administration Wednesday.

“Capt. Martinez was one of the first people I met with when I came here to see if this is where I wanted to work and I quickly recognized that he really only wanted the same things I did – a well-trained department, people treated fairly and people held accountable if they weren’t doing their job,” Hughes said. “It was clear to me that Flavio had a lot of passion and love for this department … I thank him for his many positive contributions.”

Fire and Police Chaplin Jeff Eichorst thanks Capt. Flavio Martinez for his service. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider commended Martinez, recounting a long list of programs he developed and participated in including the department’s Heart program, search tactics and rescue.

“Flavio joined LAFD in 1990 and he was a member of our fire investigations for 15 years,” Grider said. “One of his biggest accomplishments was being the chief fire contract negotiator the last four years.”

Driver Engineer Danny Archuleta said Martinez was, “a big inspiration in my life.”

“We have posters hanging all over that say things like courage, pride, honor – I really saw those things alive in Flavio,” Archuleta said.

Firefighter Cari Mace is the new union president.

“Flavio is one of the true mentors in my life.” she said. “They say your first captain is the one who really sets your career on its path and I am grateful and proud that Flavio was my first captain.”

Martinez summed up his life at LAFD saying his career went by very fast and that he hadn’t intended to stay with it very long.

Assistant County Attorney Dan Gonzales, left, and Police Chief Wayne Torpy were among many who turned out to wish Fire Capt. Flavio Martinez well in his retirement. Photo by Carol A Clark/ladailypost.com

“It was a stepping stone to the lab,” he said. “I spoke with my father and he said, ‘What do you want to do, make lots of money or make a difference?’ You’ve just got to stand for something. I met with Chief Hughes and I saw him as a guy with honor and I feel this department is headed for good things.”

Martinez loves the outdoors and in his retirement intends to spend as much time in the wilderness on horseback as possible.

Torpy Gets Hugged

Longtime Los Alamos resident Colleen Hanlon hugs Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy at the county council meeting Tuesday night in appreciation for his coming to her aid and moving her car, which he noticed was parked in a precarious location on Central Avenue. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com