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State police are investigating the murder of the Chimayó man wanted for assaulting his girlfriend

May 20 – New Mexico State Police officers who attempted to serve an arrest warrant on a Chimayó man last week instead found him murdered in his home.

Police arrived May 14 at the home of Christopher Serrano, 41, who a week earlier was accused of brutally beating his girlfriend for hours while holding her against her will in his home. He was charged with kidnapping, criminal sexual contact and six counts of aggravated assault against a household member.

A state police news release offered few details about Serrano’s death — including a possible suspect or motive — but indicated his body may have been discovered outside the home.

Upon arriving at the home, officers found Serrano “lying face down with apparent trauma to his body,” the news release said.

“Believing noise was heard inside the residence, a perimeter was established around the residence and the NMSP Tactical Team arrived to evacuate the residence,” police said. “No one was found inside.”

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Serrano’s death is being investigated as a homicide by the State Police Bureau of Investigation. The agency declined to provide more information.

A week before Serrano’s body was found, state troopers were dispatched to an intersection near his home where they found his girlfriend severely beaten, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The woman told them that Serrano locked her in his home and beat her for hours.

State police have filed six misdemeanor and three misdemeanor charges against Serrano, according to a criminal complaint filed in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court.

The arrest warrant affidavit states that Serrano’s girlfriend fled his home on the afternoon of May 7, running barefoot for about a mile before arriving at a home where she called police for help.

Serrano had beaten her starting at 3 a.m. that morning, she told police, and he had taken her cell phone and nailed the doors of his home shut while he “physically and violently restrained her from reaching an exit,” wrote police in the affidavit.

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Police noted that the woman had new injuries consistent with her story of physical abuse.

The woman alleged that Serrano had used methamphetamine and cocaine and that he beat her all over the body, pulled out her hair, stuck her ear with a pen, sexually assaulted her and strangled her, the affidavit said. She also told them he held a knife to her stomach and threatened to kill her.

“I was fighting for my life,” the woman said, according to the affidavit.

The woman “constantly looked around as if she was afraid of someone,” police wrote in the affidavit, and she felt “very uncomfortable and uncomfortable.”

She said it wasn’t the first time he had physically abused her, but she was afraid to go to police because Serrano had threatened to kill her if she did, the affidavit said.

The woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Serrano was also charged in April with assault on a household member after the couple was arrested in Española. The woman told Española police she tried to break up with Serrano, but he wouldn’t let her leave, according to a criminal complaint filed in that case.

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Police wrote in the complaint that Serrano’s girlfriend told them he threatened to set her car on fire if she left him.

Felony charges were pending at the time of Serrano’s death.

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