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Murder investigation underway after teen’s body found dumped in Mesilla

The body of 18-year-old Dakota Lunceford of Alamogordo was found in Mesilla, N.M. last week. Photo courtesy of the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office.

Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies are asking for your help to solve the murder of an 18-year-old.

Investigators said his body was found dumped in Mesilla last Friday.

Kelly Jameson, spokeswoman for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputies Office, said they are are trying to piece together the little information they have after the body of Dakota Lunceford was found dumped in Mesilla.

“A farmer working in the area of Glass Road in Mesilla was the first to make the discovery,” Jameson said.

Deputies said Lunceford was last seen alive almost two weeks ago in Alamogordo.

"His grandparents live in Alamogordo, we also know that he has family in Washington; however, it's unclear where he was intending to make his permanent residence,“ Jameson said.

Investigators don’t think he died of natural causes.

“We did send the body to Albuquerque to the office of the medical examiner to make a positive conclusion of how this 18-year-old died,” Jameson said.

Today we spoke to several neighbors who said they don’t want to be on camera because they’re concerned for their safety.

One farmer said he isn’t surprised a body was found.

He said there was a similar case that happened in the same area back in the 70s when police found the body of a man who was burned alive.

Richard Portillo lives on Glass Road and said something like this really opens your eyes to what could be happening in the area.

“We need to be more aware of what's going on with those types of vehicles that we don’t recognize here,” Portillo said.

Neighbors who didn’t want to to be on camera said Lunceford’s body was found inside of a canal, but deputies have not confirmed that information.

As of now, deputies are treating this case as a murder.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 cash reward for anyone who has any information that leads to an arrest.

Anyone with information on his death is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 575-525-8812. Callers can remain anonymous by contacting Las Cruces Crime Stoppers at 1-800-888-TIPS (8477).

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