Suspect free after grand jury decides not to indict

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A 23-year-old Las Maravillas man accused in the murder of his father on New Year's Day was released from custody this week.

A Valencia County grand jury found no probable cause he committed the crime, according to 13th Judicial Deputy District Attorney Ron Lopez.

Lopez said the grand jury failed to come back with an indictment against Michael Wrobel, who was accused of getting into a physical altercation with his father, Henry Wrobel, over the family's dog and negative comments directed to the father's girlfriend at their residence on Juniper Avenue.

Henry Wrobel, 56, was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where he was pronounced dead about 2:30 a.m. on New Year's Day.

But Lopez said the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator determined the older Wrobel died from a medical episode, not from being pushed down as the police report alleged.

According to the report, Wrobel said he got into a verbal argument with his father over the comments he made to his girlfriend. He said his father struck him twice in the face with a closed fist.

When he attempted to hit him a third time, Michael Wrobel told police he pushed his father's arm away and then pushed him.

He said he thought his father was joking when he hit the floor and didn't get up, the report said.

"The autopsy found that the victim passed away due to a heart attack," Lopez said. "It didn't appear that there was a physical altercation whatsoever."

Assistant District Attorney Brian McKay said OMI investigators determined the man's injuries could have resulted from the heart attack.

The criminal complaint, filed in Los Lunas Magistrate Court, said the two men had been drinking at the residence throughout the day.

The complaint said at some point, the younger Wrobel told his father he shouldn't make negative comments about his girlfriend's former spouse. Eventually, Henry Wrobel apologized to the woman, the complaint said.

The girlfriend told deputies she was awakened by Michael Wrobel asking her to help him with his father. She administered CPR until medical personnel arrived.

When medical personnel arrived, Henry Wrobel's left eye was protruding from its socket and he had a "massive amount" of bruising on his neck, the report said.

The girlfriend's 15-year-old son told deputies he heard the verbal argument and that "things in the home calmed down." Later that night, the boy heard arguing and turned up his music before he heard glass breaking.

The girlfriend of the man told deputies Michael Wrobel had a bad temper and said he is bi-polar and not on his medication.

He also had recently been hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation, she said, according to the complaint.

In an phone interview, Michael Wrobel said the charges against him were dropped and that he was released from custody on Monday. He said there was no physical altercation between he and his father that day.

Wrobel said he doesn't want to be deemed a "social pariah," and said he thought his father was lying on the floor as he often did when he listened to music.

He said the "story" from deputies about a physical fight wasn't accurate.

"That was their story," Wrobel said. "My story is that I came into the room and he was passed out on the floor. He wasn't breathing and his pulse was irregular. I tried to do CPR, but it didn't work."

He said deputies told him it was "procedure" to arrest him after the incident. He said he wants to clear his name and "go on living his life."

"I was the one who called police and yet, they arrested me."

The man said his father's neck was red "all the time" from having high blood pressure. He said police didn't find his DNA on Henry Wrobel.

He said there are plans to have his father cremated.

Valencia County Sheriff's Capt. Gary Hall said deputies believed there was "some type" of altercation at the residence that day.

"We charged based on evidence we had at the scene," Hall said.


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