Teen charged in death of 12-year-old

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Two young boys entered an empty lot in Meadow Lake earlier this week. Only one left alive.

The body of 12-year-old Alex Madrid, of Albuquerque, was found in a vacant lot in the area of 122 Manzano View Road Tuesday afternoon.

His close friend, 15-year-old Brandon Villalobos, has been arrested in connection to the killing. Villalobos has been charged with first degree murder, as well as tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.

Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard said deputies responded to a call of a missing person in the Meadow Lake area around 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Madrid was in Meadow Lake on Sunday, visiting and shopping with family.

When deputies began gathering information about the missing boy, Burkhard said Villalobos was interviewed as a witness.

"He was telling some pretty wild tales," the sheriff said. "Detectives were called in and after talking with him further, he led them to the body."

Burkhard said it appears Madrid died as a result of severe trauma, but would not specify the types or locations of injuries.

"I don't want to speculate. We need to complete our investigation and let the Office of the Medical Investigator make that determination," he said.

The suspect's home was searched and Villalobos was arrested Tuesday, Burkhard said. He is being held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Albuquerque.

Villalobos lives close to where Madrid's body was found. Burkhard said it appears the crime was committed at the empty lot and was not planned in advance. So far, there is no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved, he said.

The two boys have known each other for two to three years, Burkhard said, and "hung out a lot."

Once the investigation is completed, Burkhard said the district attorney's office will make the decision whether to try Villalobos as an adult.

"This kind of crime is unusual. It's rare but tragic," he said.

The sheriff said detectives are still trying to determine a solid timeline of when Madrid was last seen before his body was found.

"We are trying to put together why this happened, what was said, what set it off," Burkhard said. "We are trying to determine what happened between Sunday evening and Tuesday."


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.