A former Greenbrier Valley resident was charged on Feb. 12 with first-degree murder in Taos County, New Mexico.
Ivan Dennings Cales was arrested in connection to the death of Roxanne Houston, 33, whose remains were found in a shallow grave near Carson, NM on Dec. 25, 2014. Preliminary results from her autopsy indicate Houston died of a gunshot to the head.
The 50-year-old West Virginian did not bear much resemblance to the murder suspect pictured on wanted posters. Cales had cut his hair, grown a beard and was reportedly going by the name Joseph Richmond.
Investigators assumed he was long gone until Taos County Sheriff’s Office Detective Robert Salazar received a tip that Cales was at the St. Elizabeth Shelter in Santa Fe, NM.
Officers from the Santa Fe Police Department were dispatched to the Alarid Street facility and identified Cales by tattoos on his forearm, Salazar said.
Cales was booked into the Santa Fe County jail Monday evening, Feb. 16, and held in lieu of a $500,000 cash bond. Taos County Sheriff’s Office personnel took custody of Cales on Tuesday morning and transported him to Taos. It was not immediately clear when he would be arraigned.
With the affidavit for his arrest warrant initially sealed, the sheriff’s office has released little information about why Cales is believed to have murdered Houston, but suspicion appears to have fallen on him early in the investigation. Taos County Sheriff’s Office investigators reportedly interviewed Cales in January. Later that month, a Jeep Cherokee that once belonged to Cales was seized and searched for forensic evidence. Salazar confirmed Monday he has also obtained and submitted for forensic testing a firearm that once belonged to Cales.
Houston, originally from the Colorado Springs area, reportedly arrived in Carson with a boyfriend during 2013. The couple reportedly camped before moving in with friends for a few months and then into another home they shared with several men. According to reports, Cales lived temporarily at the Carson Estates home that Houston shared with a boyfriend and others.
Houston is said to have struggled with mental illness and was the mother of four children who live with her estranged adoptive parents.
Posts to an online message board that appear to have been authored by Cales indicate he moved to the Taos area early in the summer of 2014 in hopes of starting a new life. Law enforcement records and other online posts detailing a child custody dispute indicate the life he left behind in West Virginia was a troubled one.