Police make arrests in separate homicides

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 11:39 PM

Police have filed murder charges in separate homicides that occurred this week in Cortez, and two suspects are now in custody.

Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane said Bureau of Indian Affair officials arrested Jeroen Begay, 19, of Cortez in Kayenta, Ariz., early Friday morning. Begay was wanted in connection with a shooting death that occurred around 10:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at the Cedar Terrace Apartments that left one woman dead and a teenager injured.

Officials have seized a 12-gauge shotgun they believe was used to kill Natalie Hatch, 21, and injure Quincy Yellow, 18, both of Towaoc, Lane added.

In custody, Begay was en route from Arizona to Cortez as of Friday afternoon. He is facing both murder and attempted murder charges, Lane said.

Yellow has been released from a Grand Junction hospital, but the extent of his injuries remains unknown, Lane said.

He added it was too early to speculate on a motive for the shooting.

In an unrelated homicide, police arrested Valerie Espinoza, 38, of Cortez late Thursday, Sept. 19, in connection to a stabbing death earlier that morning on the 200 block of S. Madison Street. Espinoza was charged with murder after 62-year-old Charles Chavez of Cortez died from being stabbed in the upper torso with a long-blade kitchen knife, Lane said.

Officials remain unsure of the motive in the case.