<script async src=”//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js”></script>
<!– Front page sidebar –>
<ins class=”adsbygoogle”
style=”display:inline-block;width:300px;height:600px”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-6727059054102892″
data-ad-slot=”4003498234″></ins>
<script>
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
</script>



No Probe into Child Porn?

No Probe into Child Porn?

'I am not aware of any children that have been interviewed' - lawyer Laura Schauer Ives

Silver City cop who killed girlfriend, then self possessed child porn

But no one seems to be investigating

What happens in New Mexico when police find child porn among the possessions of a police captain who murdered his ex-girlfriend and then killed himself?

Do the New Mexico State Police or the New Mexico Attorney General’s office investigate to determine who the child victims were? Do they try to uncover how many victims there were? Whether a child porn ring is operating? Whether other cops are involved?

Apparently not, according to an attorney close to the case.

Albuquerque attorney Laura Schauer Ives, who has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the murdered ex-girlfriend’s family, said she isn’t aware of any probe into the child porn that found among the possessions of former Silver City Police Capt. Mark Contreras in April 2016, and doesn’t know why one hasn’t been launched.

Contreras fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, Nikki Bascom, 32, on April 21, 2016, then shot himself. Four days later, Silver City Police Lt. Fred Portillo was going through Contreras’ possessions, which included several data memory sticks and cards and found the porn.

 “I began the Recova software on the micro-card and I got distracted,” Portillo said in a police report on the incident. “When I returned to my office I observed the Recova software populated a lot of images. I observed what looked like a pre-teen image of what I am familiar with as being a type of child pornography … I did observe several images of Mark [Contreras] taking pictures of himself in mirror. Some of the images were in uniform.

“I also observed some images of what I believe to be Mark exposing his penis. On this same micro-card I observed several videos and images of what my training and experience with the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force lead me to believe the cards had child erotica and child pornography.

“I contacted [Silver City Police] Chief [Ed] Reynolds and informed him of my discovery,” Portillo wrote in his report. “I then bagged all the memory devices and Mark’s work computer. I included the black thumb drive I transferred the images to into evidence.”

Why no action by police?

Schauer Ives said she knows of no investigations into the child porn found among Contreras’ possessions.

“I am not aware of any children that have been interviewed or any attempt to interview any of the children that appear in the videos, which is stunning to me,” Schauer Ives said. “I would think that would be a priority for any law enforcement agency.”

Schauer Ives said the State Police and the federal authorities should be investigating. “There is absolutely no evidence that they have taken any steps to identify who these victims are,” she said.

Questions she believes should asked include: Was Contreras was part of a child porn ring and are children in the Silver City area currently being victimized?

“At the very least, they should be trying to ascertain who he committed the crimes against, and they have utterly failed to do that, much to my shock,” Schauer Ives said.

The apparent non-action by Silver City police on the child porn is only the latest black eye for the department. Last summer, body camera video showed that Silver City police allowed Grant County’s visibly intoxicated district attorney to drive home they had stopped her for drunken driving.

Non-answers

The New Mexico State Police took control of the murder-suicide scene at which Contreras killed Bascom and presumably should know about the child porn that Portillo found.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Pearce responded to an email from ABQ Free Press asking questions about the investigation by saying, “This is still an ongoing investigation and we cannot comment on specific details at this time. Our agents are actively investigating all aspects and allegations pertaining to this incident/case.”

Pearce did not say whether State Police knew about the child porn.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, James Hallinan, didn’t answer ABQ Free Press’ question about whether that agency, which oversees the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in the state, was aware that child porn had been found among Contreras’ possessions.

“The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General heads the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and maintains local law enforcement affiliates throughout the state providing them with resources, training and investigative support,” Hallinan said.

Hallinan said that while the Silver City Police Department is an affiliate of the ICAC Task Force, “Capt. Contreras was not assigned to the task force.” He said, “Silver City Police is no longer active on the task force.”

ABQ Free Press left a voice message for Reynolds asking whether his department had alerted other law enforcement agencies about the child porn. He did not return the phone call.

A spokesman for the FBI did not return a phone call asking whether that agency was aware of Contreras’ involvement in child porn.

Police complicity?

Schauer Ives said the Silver City Police Department’s actions before Bascom’s death deserve to be investigated. By doing nothing in the days and weeks to address Contreras’ threats against Bascom, they were complicit in her death, the family’s lawsuit alleges.

Worse, according to the lawsuit, on the day of the murder-suicide, Reynolds let Contreras’ into Bascom’s home so he could retrieve his belongings, including some guns. An hour later, Contreras murdered Bascom with one of those guns, police reports show.

The family’s lawsuit names as defendants Silver City, its police department and the Grant County Sheriff’s Department.

“For weeks prior to the killing, Captain Contreras stalked, threatened, and abused Nikki with impunity. She had repeatedly reported his concerning, illegal behavior to Chief Reynolds,” the lawsuit says.

“She had done so again on the day she was killed. That morning, Captain Contreras had tried to run her off the road and gone to her boss’s house, Dr. Darrick Nelson, to confront him. In both instances, he was on duty, armed with his service weapon, and driving his police unit. Still, the Chief did not take immediate action to stop him. On the day that she was killed, Nikki also tried to seek help from Grant County Sheriff’s deputies. They, too, did nothing.”

After Contreras tried to run her off the road, Bascom went to a woman’s shelter in Silver City. “At around the same time, Nikki received word that Chief Reynolds had let Captain Contreras into her home to retrieve some of his belongings, including guns,” the lawsuit says. “She was furious; she said Contreras was going to kill her. Within an hour, Nikki was dead.”

 

 

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

Latest posts by Dennis Domrzalski (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply
The following two tabs change content below.
David Lynch is an award-winning film critic and journalist and the current editor-in-chief of the New Mexico Daily Lobo.

Latest posts by David Lynch (see all)