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A New Mexico teenager is facing a murder charge over a Snapchat-fueled hostage scheme gone awry and ended in the shooting death of the would-be ransom payer, police said.
Anna Bella Dukes, 18, was arrested Monday for her involvement in the February 2021 murder of 24-year-old former corrections officer Elias Otero, Albuquerque police said.
Dukes allegedly used Snapchat to connect with Otero’s brother, Nicholas, and then lured him to an in-person meeting in Alvarado Park, where three armed men, including her girlfriend, were waiting, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
They stole money and jewelry from Nicholas, then took him to his brother’s house, where they demanded Elias take out cash or Nicholas would be killed, KOB 4 reported.
Elias came out and threatened to shoot the kidnappers, but the confrontation turned deadly when a man described by the Journal as Dukes’ boyfriend, 17-year-old Adrian Avila, opened fire and fatally shot Elias, police said, according to the reports.
Dukes faces charges of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, evidence tampering and conspiracy. Avila turned himself in last month, KRQE said. He was slapped with the same charges as Dukes.
Grieving mother Alicia Otero told the station that she believes justice will be served for her son.
“Every day we want to get justice and, you know, someone to pay for what they did to them and knowing that they finally turned themselves in, it feels good that it won’t go unsolved,” she said.