I was 18 years old and away at college. I was with my boyfriend and just had sex for the first time. Afterwards he was unable to start his car and 3 men pulled up and offered to help. They got out of their car with a gun. My boyfriend was pistol whipped and then the 3 men drove me away holding my head down on the seat with a gun on it. They took me to an old shack where all 3 of them raped me. Then they put me back in the car and dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. I walked through a field until I saw a light- there were some little shack houses. I knocked on a door and was told to go across the street. There a man let me stay on his couch for the night and took me to my dorm in he morning. The rapists had been caught earlier, held in the police station over night but never prosecuted due to lack of evidence. This was in 1972 before DNA was admissible as evidence. I am 60 years old now and still healing.
The following are newspaper articles from 1972 at the time it happened and a more recent update:
October 19, 1972
POLICE JAIL MAN, TWO JUVENILES ON KIDNAP COUNT
A 19 year old Albuquerque man was being held in county jail Wednesday night, After he and two juveniles were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and armed robbery in connection with the abduction of a University of Albuquerque coed and robbery of her companion.
The suspects- Emiliano Marquez, 19, of 5717 Miami SW, and two 17 year old South Valley boys-also were being investigated in an alleged rape of the girl, police said.
The 18 year old coed was abducted and her companion, Richard Akers, 20, beaten and robbed, after their car stalled in the 3500 block of Atrisco NW.
A car containing three persons drove up, and the couple apparently thought the youths were going to help them, Detective Gerald Fisk said.
One of the youths drew a gun, pistal whipped and robbed Akers of his watch and wallet, Fisk reported. They then forced him to lie on the ground as they abducted the girl, Akers told officers.
Akers walked to the University of Albuquerque and called police, giving them a description of the suspects and their car.
Sherriff’s patrolmen Al Herrera and Don Marquez stopped a car similar to the suspect auto’s description at Felicitas and Atrisco SW, and arrested the three inside.
In a search of the car, the officers found a wallet and a loaded .22 caliber pistol.
Meanwhile, city police, suspecting the girl had been slain, dispatched 21 officers to search the West Mesa.
But the coed contacted police later in the morning, saying she had been taken to a location near Bridge and Coors SW, raped and pushed out of the car.
June 21, 2010
Memories of Dark Night in Albuquerque relived
Joline Gutierrez Krueger
The first scene in her script opens with the squeal of tires and the face of a pretty young woman from the back seat of a darkened car.
She is crying. She is being slapped. And she is just about to descend into hell.
“If only that would have been the extent of it, I would’ve been lucky,” she says in the first voiceover lines of the scene. “But no, this dream you’re seeing is more, much more than a bad dream or a nightmare.”
What comes next really happened on Oct. 18, 1972.
The character’s name is Danielle Lauer, but she is actually the writer 37 years ago when she was a University of Albuquerque freshman fresh from the safe suburbs north of Chicago.
For reasons that should become obvious, we will call both of them Danielle.
She has never written a script. It is a learning process, a healing process. If it is true that you should write what you know, then she is doing that. She knows this. Most of it. So she tells me her story, hoping to flesh out the missing pieces and people in her script and in her memory. Maybe you and I can help her find them. Her mother, a worrier, hadn’t wanted her youngest child to go so far away to college. “I liked the West. I liked the mountains,” Danielle said. The university closed in 1986, its campus on the West Mesa now the site of St. Pius X High School. But in her mind, she still sees it as it was, far from the city and subdivisions high on a sagebrush-strewn mesa.
She was 18 and on a date that night with Rick Aker, a nice boy from town. It was his 20th birthday.
Sometime after midnight, his car broke down near the western edges of Montaño Road. From the darkness came three longhaired boys in a yellow and black Mustang.
“We thought they were coming to help us,” she said.
One of them pulled out a gun, another pulled Aker from his car and began pistol-whipping him. Albuquerque police reports identified three young men, two 17 years old and the other 19, who stole Aker’s wallet, watch, car keys and ChapStick.
Even more was stolen from Danielle.
In the back seat of their car, she remembers her jeans being torn, her head being pressed hard into the seat with the barrel of the gun.
All the while, she pictured her mother.
“I was thinking, ‘My mom is not going to be able to handle having a child murdered,’ ” she said. “I was thinking I wouldn’t make it through alive.”
She was driven to a shack where they ripped off her clothes, she said, and took their turns raping her.
When it was over, she was forced against a wall while the males searched for the gun, misplaced in the darkness.
“I was hoping I would die right away,” she said. “I was hoping I wouldn’t linger.”
Instead, she was driven to a South Valley ditch bank and set free.
She stumbled to a nearby house on foothill SW. For reasons she still doesn’t understand, she told the man inside that she was lost.
The man, Joe Apodaca, allowed her to sleep on the couch until morning, when he drove her back to the dorm.
Meanwhile, police were searching for her. Aker had provided such good descriptions of the males — right down to the pointy boots one of them wore — that the youths were quickly located and arrested. Police found Aker’s stolen items in their Mustang, hair strands that resembled Danielle’s on their clothing.
Two of the males agreed to show police the ditch bank where they had dumped her; one admitted that he and the others had been involved in the robbery and kidnapping, but said nothing about rape.
Despite the evidence, the three suspects were never prosecuted. DNA would not be admissible as evidence in New Mexico for 17 more years. Danielle and Aker had not been able to positively identify the three in a lineup.
Danielle moved back to her safe Chicago suburb. She eventually graduated with an art degree and, later, became a nurse
She began writing her script two years ago, and she started to wonder what happened to the people from that night.
What she has learned is that at least two of her tormentors met untimely fates. One was found shot to death in a trash dump in 1980; another was charged with DWI-caused vehicular homicide in 1974 and later died of narcotics abuse.
Neither she nor I could find any trace of the third suspect.
The house Danielle found refuge in is gone, and so is its occupant.
I found Aker still in Albuquerque, the pain of that night barreling back as we talked.
“I feel guilty to this day,” he said. “If I wouldn’t have taken her out there. … It’s hard to let go of that.”
Danielle says he should.
“I’ve done a lot of healing, though I’m not completely healed,” she said. “Writing my script has helped me. Maybe it will help him.”
Her script ends with this line: “We all began to heal, and we all began with renewed hope for a brighter future.”
She knows this.
Rick and I reconnected after 38 years and remain friends.
Thank you for providing this site for us to tell our stories, it is another way to heal.