Homicide

Sahuarita Police continue to investigate the death of Manuel Montijo Bojorquez Sr. at this home in January.

Sahuarita police remain tight-lipped about an investigation into the shooting death of a 59-year-old man seven months ago, but say they are still actively pursuing leads.

"This investigation is being taken very seriously," Lt. Sam Almodova said. "This was the death of a person at the hands of somebody else and there are things I cannot comment on because I do not want to do anything to jeopardize this investigation."

Sahuarita Police Chief John Noland said releasing the information publicly would place the persons involved in jeopardy.

According to authorities, several people entered a home in the 2200 block of East Sahuarita Road around 2 a.m. Jan. 26, and shot Manuel Montijo Bojorquez Sr. and an unidentified woman. Bojorquez died; the woman was treated at a hospital and recovered. It was the first homicide in Sahuarita in 10 years. 

Police said the suspects spoke Spanish and had “clothing/items to cover their faces.”

The shooting happened in a cluster of a half-dozen mobile homes behind a house on the north side of Sahuarita Road. The homes are just west of two churches and about a quarter-mile west of the turnoff to Walden Grove High School.

On Monday, police released 60 pages of a 271-page report on the investigation as a result of an Arizona Open Records request filed by the Green Valley News. Thirty-seven pages were fully redacted, the remaining pages were heavily redacted. The unreleased pages are in the process of being redacted.

On Tuesday, Almodova said the report was heavily redacted to protect the "integrity of the case."

The lieutenant said detectives continue to follow up on leads, but declined to comment on what type of leads they are getting or when they were received. Detectives remain in touch with the witnesses, who were and remain cooperative, Almodova said.

He declined to discuss whether detectives have identified any suspects, but said forensic evidence was collected at the scene. 

Noland said from the beginning of the case the department has reached out to other agencies for their expertise.

"We believe we have established a motive, a motive that to us makes sense for what occurred," Noland said.

Almodova is optimistic the case will be closed one day.

"I absolutely think this case will be solved. I can't tell you when, the exact date, but I can tell you this case will be solved," he said.

Bojorquez was a sex offender who failed to register after being released from prison three months prior to his death, but Almodova said in January that detectives do not believe his death was connected to his sex offender status.

Bojorquez was employed by a contractor who works for FICO, and although neighbors said the trailer was inhabited by seasonal workers, the trailer is not on FICO property.

Navideh Forghani, a public information officer with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said Bojorquez was released from prison Oct. 23, 2018, but failed to register as a sex offender with the PCSO as required. He obtained a state identification card Oct. 24, indicating his address was in Eloy, but detectives were unable to verify that address and he was listed as an absconder.

According to court and Arizona Department of Corrections records, Bojorquez served six months in 1991 on a sexual abuse charge out of Pinal County. He was convicted of inappropriately touching a female aged 15 or older, court documents indicate.

He was sent to prison for another 2.5 years in 2005 for failing to register as a sex offender in that case.

Records indicate Bojorquez has also spent time in prison on marijuana and aggravated DUI charges. He was released in October after serving four months in a drug paraphernalia case.

Arizona Supreme Court records indicate a Pinal County Superior Court issued a warrant for Bojorquez’s arrest Dec. 28. He was accused of violating his probation in 2015, but the nature of that case wasn’t immediately available.

Kim Smith | 520-547-9740

Assistant Editor Kim Smith moved to Arizona from Michigan when she was 16. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism in 1989. She has worked at seven newspapers of varying size in Arizona, Texas and Nevada.

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