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Months after a young woman who served in the Nevada Army National Guard was gunned down at a Halloween party, cops say leads have “dried up” and they’re desperate for tips. Just before 1 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2021, Graciela Gomez, 22, was struck and killed by gunfire after a group of men who were denied entry to the costume party drove past the house and opened fire, Las Vegas Metro Police said. Three months after her death, Lt. Ray Spencer said investigators desperately need witnesses to come forward, noting that the suspects have eluded cops and the investigation has been “hampered” by poor quality surveillance video from that night.
Missouri police said bloody cowboy boot prints have led to the arrest of a man in connection to the killing of a young woman and the beating of her 4-year-old daughter.
Mackenzie Hopkins, 24, was found dead submerged in her bathtub at her Kansas City, Missouri, home. Her daughter was found on her bed with a severe head wound and remains in critical condition, according to the Jackson County, Missouri, charging documents.
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Jose Escalante-Corchado, 28, was charged with first-degree murder, assault to a special victim, armed criminal action and child endangerment, The Kansas City Star reported.
According to court documents, the woman and child were found after the Kansas City, Missouri, police were dispatched to her home on Saturday for a welfare check. Officers met with Hopkins' father who tried to use his key to enter the residence but found the door was unlocked.
Officers then entered the home and found Hopkins dead in the bathtub submerged in water. She was later discovered to have blunt force trauma to her face and head. Her 4-year-old daughter was found lying on her bed with severe head trauma and was rushed to an area hospital, according to the charging documents.
Man Beat Girlfriend’s ‘Cover Story’ Friend to Death, Bludgeoned Her 4-Year-Old Daughter, Police Say
A Kansas City man beat his girlfriend’s friend to death and bludgeoned her 4-year-old daughter to within an inch of her life after his girlfriend falsely told him she would be with the two as part of a bogus cover story, authorities say. Jose E. Escalante-Corchado, 24, faces a first-degree murder charge and a slew of other charges for the vicious attack police say he unleashed on 24-year-old Mackenzie Hopkins and her daughter over the weekend, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement. The young mother, a nursing assistant at a Kansas City hospital, was found dead in a bathtub at her home during a welfare check Saturday.
Investigators found several blood spots located throughout the main floor. According to the documents, there were large pools of blood with drag marks indicating Hopkins had been moved at some point.
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Bloody shoe prints were located throughout the house with the word "Ariat" left behind, which investigators said was traced to a popular brand of cowboy boots.
Detectives located a similar pair of cowboy boots later identified as belonging to Escalante-Corchado after they talked to one of Hopkins' friends who said the boots belonged to Escalante-Corchado, the charging documents indicated.
Police later learned Hopkins had called 911 around 6 a.m. on Saturday roughly 14 hours before she and her daughter were found. Court records indicated that the call sounded like people were fighting. It is unknown if police responded to this call.
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Based on traffic and surveillance camera footage, police said Escalante-Corchado was on Hopkins' block around the time she called 911. Witnesses told police a person matching his description was seen coming and going from the home, the Associated Press reported. He spent an estimated two hours in the area.
Escalante-Corchado said he knew the victim and her daughter because he helped them move into her home, according to court documents. He admitted he was in the vicinity of Hopkins' home but denied having any involvement in the death or assault.
Escalante-Corchado is being held at the Wyandotte County, Kansas, jail and his bail has not been set.
"It's something I could never imagine. It hurts as her sister. It hurts as her friend. She was one of the most positive forces in my life," Shawna Hopkins, Mackenzie's sister-in-law, told WDAF-TV. "Nothing can make this right, but justice must be served."
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Can a 911 call decide the fate of a doctor charged with wife's murder? .
A prominent doctor accused of killing his wife says she fell in the shower – but investigators say blood at the scene shows it wasn't an accident.[This story previously aired on November 16, 2019. It was updated on April 16, 2022.