The serene atmosphere of the sleepy town of Taos, New Mexico, was shattered in 2002 with the murder of two women in their homes. Marioara Shand, originally a Swedish national, was found lying face down in a pool of her own blood, she had been raped and stabbed multiple times and had her throat cut twice.
A week later, in a separate incident, Leanne Martinez was murdered by Richard Fresquez in similar circumstances. Police ruled the cases unconnected, but it was enough to spread fear through this tourist-driven town.
In a case profiled by Murder Comes Home, we discover that Shand’s killer was her next-door neighbor, 17-year-old Nathaniel Duran, who was also her landlord’s grandson.
Duran’s was Shand’s neighbor
At Duran’s trial, his friends stated that 36-year-old Shand had picked up Duran in her car on the morning of July 7; she then failed to turn up for work later that day. DNA found on Shand’s inner thigh matched with Duran.
Duran stated that he had had consensual sex with Shand but denied having anything to do with her murder. Police didn’t believe him, and he was charged with murder and tampering with evidence.
In 2003 a jury trial convicted Nathaniel Duran of murder and sentenced him to life in prison plus an additional ten and a half years. After sentencing, he ripped off his shirt and shouted obscenities in the courtroom.
He died in prison in 2008 at 23 after hanging himself with a bedsheet in a maximum-security prison cell. In October of 2007, he had filed a civil suit against New Mexico State Penitentiary complaining about his confinement conditions.
More from Murder Comes Home
A week after Shand’s death, Leanne Martinez was murdered in her Taos home in very similar circumstances. Police were quick to rule out Duran, and a Richard Fresquez was eventually arrested for this murder; the case was also profiled on Murder Comes Home.
Murder Comes Home also looked at the dreadful case of Josh Caspari, who staked out the home of Anna Cardwell, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the young woman.
As soon as he saw Cardwell’s mother leave, he went to the house and argued with Cardwell before shooting her dead. Investigators recall a particularly bloody murder scene in the home as Cardwell had fought hard to escape her attacker despite suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Catch Murder Comes Home at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.
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