Thomas Tate “Tom” Tobin

The San Luis Valley of Colorado and New Mexico was once part of the Territory of New Mexico in an early configuration of Taos County. Now most of it is in Colorado, but some still extends into New Mexico. As you can see from the map below, except for the headwaters of the Rio Grande, the entire river once flowed through the New Mexico Territory.

Thomas Tate “Tom” Tobin was born in 1823 in St. Louis, Missouri to Bartholomew Tobin and Sarah Autobees Tobin. Tom and his older half brother Charles Autobees are believed to have left St. Louis and headed west while Tom was still a teenager. They are both said to have been associated with Ceran St. Vrain, one of the founders of Bent’s Fort. Not a lot is known about Charles, but the half brothers worked out of Bent’s Fort for a while, scouting and trading. Eventually they each settled and got married. Charles married Sycamore, an Arapaho native and Tom married Maria Pascuala Bernal, of the Taos area.

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Girly Chew Hossencofft

Murder victim Girly Chew Hossencofft was born in Malaysia in 1963. She came to America in the 1990s for a vacation during which she met an individual named Daizien Hossencofft while visiting a theme park. Chew and Hossencofft were married in 1993 and located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Girly Chew Hossencofft was working for a local bank. According to various news accounts, Girly Chew had separated from Hossencofft on more than one occasion and recently filed for divorce, making allegations of domestic violence against him. Subsequently, she disappeared in September, 1999 after failing to come to work at Bank of America where she had been a teller. Friends and coworkers reported her missing and her disappearance was investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department. She was 36 years old at the time.

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Lea County Triple Murder

It was July 23, 1957, a Tuesday, and it began like any other summer day in Lea County, until a truck driver’s body was found on the highway between Carlsbad and Hobbs.  At about 4:00 AM almost to the old Halfway Bar, a well known night spot, another motorist had come upon the body of a man lying on the roadway on Highway 180.  The truck driver’s diesel rig was pulled off the road and left sitting there.  The engine was still idling and the running lights were left on.  A passenger car, a 1952 Plymouth sedan, was also pulled off the pavement.  The truck driver was found to have a weak pulse.

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Murders of Thomas and Judy McKnight

In the fall of 1984, Ronald Reagan was halfway through his two terms as President.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was about to close the year at 1,211.  A typical movie ticket cost $2.50, gasoline was about $1.10 per gallon and the film Amadeus was on its way to winning Best Picture.

On November 15, 1984 a couple was found shot to death in their rural Lincoln County home.  Thomas McKnight, known as “Cotton,” had just observed his birthday the day before.  He was a life-long native of New Mexico, having been born November 14, 1952 in Roswell.  He and his wife, the former Judy Lee Rickley, lived in Picacho.  The couple had been married since December 10, 1977 at a family ceremony on their ranch.

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