Emergency phone calls detail fight during deadly Dona Ana home invasion

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 12:38am

Emergency phone calls in the deadly New Year's Day invasion of MMA fighter Joe Torrez's Dona Ana home detail more of the events leading up to the death of a 25-year-old suspect.

9-1-1 calls obtained Monday by Local 4 News through Attorney C.J. McElhinney, depict the fight inside and outside while two women speak frantically to an emergency dispatcher.

"We were here just talking in the kitchen and all the windows started breaking," said a woman on the phone with the dispatcher.

The woman on one of the calls is believed to be a friend of Torrez fiancé Natasha Munoz.

She told the dispatcher she was inside the house with Munoz, Torrez, Torrez's two-year-old son, Munoz's 17-year-old sister and a second female friend when the call was made at 2:13 a.m. New Year's Day.

Sheriff's investigators said the fight at Torrez's home on the 600 block of King James Avenue in Dona Ana began with a previous argument within the Las Cruces city limits.

"Some people jumped my sister and they came," Munoz said to the dispatcher after being handed the phone by her friend.

The men involved are Raymond Garces, 19, along with Leonard Calvillo, 22, who were both arrested soon after the incident.

Nathan Avalos, 19, was arrested the following Monday and Garces's older brother Sal Garces, 25, died on the scene.

Court records show Leonard Calvillo made comments to Torrez by phone that said, "I'm big Eastside. I'll kill you and your family. I will go to your house."

During her call for help, Munoz identified Calvillo as one of the men outside her home.

According to investigators, the men allegedly broke a window and kicked the door in forcing their way into Torrez's home.

One of the women was on the phone with dispatchers at the time of the alleged home invasion and had this frantic exchange:

Unidentified woman: "We need somebody here now."

Dispatcher: "Ma'am we're getting them there ma'am."

Unidentified woman: "We have kids inside."

Unidentified woman: "They're fighting we need somebody here now. They're trying to stab…"

Dispatcher: "How many people are fighting?"

Unidentified woman: "Get the (expletive) off of him."

The woman goes on to say one of the men had a knife and was trying to stab the owner of the home Joe Torrez.

After some shouting in the background it appears from the tapes as though the fight continues outside, with the woman saying the men were running down the street.

The woman then said more vehicles arrived but she could not identify who they were.

"There's cars everywhere. There's a little red neon that just took off. There's another little white car that just pulled up," she told emergency dispatch.

According to court records, Rachel Carrillo, 19, along with Cylver Pearl Betancourt, 18, drove the group to Torrez's home.

Garcess mother said she was present when Carrillo received a phone call allegedly from Torrez telling the group to go over and he was waiting for them with his friends.

Attorney for Joe Torrez, C.J. McElhinney said it's possible his client's fiancé used Torrez's phone to make a call, but Torrez calling doesn't add up.

McElhinney said he knew of at least one of the alleged intruders tangentially but did not have any sort of relationship with them.

"She (Torrez's fiancé) used her phone originally but that phone went dead and that's the reason she used my client's phone," McElhinney said.

McElhinney added from there a call was made back from one of the four alleged intruders and that's when they threatened Torrez.

During the alleged fight the records show when Carrillo and Betancourt saw what was happening, Raymond Garces got back in the car and they drove away.

The woman speaking with dispatch said the fighting continued further on King James Avenue.

"They're still up the street," she said. "All those people are still up the street."

Investigators said Sal Garces, 25, was found dead with multiple stab wounds and head injuries about two homes from where the alleged initial fight first took place.

Garces mother showed Local 4 News photos on Thursday, the day of her son's memorial, detailing his wounds.

She said her son was brutally stabbed on his neck and ear and on his side and his ribs were broken.

The photos showed stitches where Garces suffered a cut on his cheek from the corner of his mouth almost to his ear and other injuries.

"They slit his throat from one side to the other and they stabbed him a few times under his neck," Garces said in tears.

The Office of the Medical Investigator could not comment on the wounds pending the completion of their final autopsy report.

The sheriff's office could only say Garces suffered multiple stab wounds and head injuries citing the ongoing investigation.

Garces's mother alleges more people were involved in the fight and Torrez had been waiting for the group with his male friends.

"He was talking smack to the boys and he told the boys to go over there and meet him and his boys," Garces said.

During the call the woman said there were only four women and Torrez inside the home.

"We were outnumbered by so many people," she said. "They invaded the house, there was guys and girls."

McElhinney said there were no others at the home of the alleged invasion but the Sheriff's Department could not elaborate if others had shown up.

They did confirm it did not appear as though there was a party when the first-responding deputies arrived.

Garces's mother has said Torrez should face charges and said the injuries to her son don't appear consistent with somebody who was attempting to defend themselves from alleged intruders

"He lost all right to self defense due to my son being found several homes down," Garces said. "That's not his property."

The district attorney's office said they do not have enough information to determine if charges are possible.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputies arrested Carrillo and Betancourt charging them with aggravated burglary with intent to commit battery and one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

Calvillo, Garces, and Avalos are facing multiple felony charges that include aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and criminal damage to property after allegedly breaking a window and kicking the door in forcing their way into Torrez's home.

McElhinney has called for felony murder charges for those arrested, as a result of a death occurring while a felony was being committed.


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