LLPD probes suspicious Sunday death

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Los Lunas police are asking for the public’s help in locating a man who they believe might have some information regarding a possible homicide that occurred over the weekend.

Los Lunas Sgt. Frank Lucero said officers were dispatched to the Gerald Chavez apartments off Taylor Road early Sunday morning after someone reported seeing a man in the parking lot of the complex who was possibly dead.

“When we arrived, we found the man in a pool of blood,” Lucero said. “That’s when we initiated our investigation and tried to figure out what led him there. We also called in state police to assist us with the crime scene.”

Lucero said the man has been identified as 52-year-old Earnest Padilla, who lives in the complex.

A search warrant was secured and initiated on Padilla’s apartment, where police found evidence that looked like “something” could have happened there, Lucero said.

“It’s looking really suspicious, like it could have been a homicide,” Lucero said of the scene.

Police are looking for a homeless man, identified as Adam Vaisa, 39, who they believe had been living off and on with Padilla for a while.

“We’d really like to speak with him,” the sergeant said. “It’s not clear what involvement he had, if any at all, or if he has any information he could provide us that will help us in our investigation.”

According to Lucero, everyone in the neighborhood knew Padilla, who the officer says suffered from mental health issues. It wasn’t uncommon for neighbors to call the police to report Padilla was screaming and yelling.

“We’ve dealt with him several times, but he was never violent.”

When asked if he’s ever dealt with Vaisa before, Lucero said he hadn’t, but other officers in Los Lunas had.

“It’s been disclosed during our investigation that there have been several transients that were associated with (Padilla),” Lucero said. “They would take advantage of him and come and go as they pleased. Unfortunately, he surrounded himself with people who might not be of the best character.

“We believe at this point, no one is imminent danger,” Lucero said.

At this point, Los Lunas police are not releasing Padilla’s injuries or the cause of death.

Anyone with information about this case, or the whereabouts of Adam Vaisa, is asked to call the Los Lunas Police Department at 839-3855, or send a tip through text message to “274637″ (Crimes) with keyword “LLPD” at the beginning of the text message. Tips can also be submitted at www.loslunasnm.gov/reportcrime.


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