Carlsbad Man Disappears En Route to Wal-Mart, Turns Up Dead in Lincoln National Forest

Carlsbad Man Disappears En Route to Wal-Mart, Turns Up Dead in Lincoln National Forest

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

EDDY COUNTY - Chance Ortiz, 28, was found dead Thursday morning on a "very remote" Queens road in Lincoln National Forest, according to Eddy County Sheriff's officials.

Detective Kelly Calicoat said Ortiz, a Carlsbad resident who lived with his parents approximately 80 miles from where his body was found, was last seen Tuesday and reported missing by his mother on Wednesday.

Ortiz's body was transported to Albuquerque for an autopsy. As of Friday night, the cause of death had not been determined.

Family members did not report suicidal tendencies or unusual behavior prior to his disappearance.

"As far as I know, he had left his residence in Carlsbad and was going to [Wal-Mart] and never returned," said Calicoat. "This is being investigated as an unattended or unexplained death."

He had no visible injuries when his body was discovered on Thursday by a Lincoln National Forest Service Technician on routine patrol.

"[His body was found on] Forest Road 540 [in Queens]," Calicoat told NewsWest 9. "It's a very remote area up in the Lincoln National Forest at the west end of Eddy County."

La Huerta volunteer medics, New Mexico State Police and Artesia Police Department personnel assisted Eddy County Sheriff's detectives in the preliminary investigation.

Artesia officials are employing the use of 360-degree digital imaging, described by investigators as "high-tech laser scanning," to better visualize and understand the crime scene.

"This crime was in a remote area, in the forest," explained Calicoat. "Whenever you are able to accurately depict and recreate the crime scene, we're able to answer questions that we may not have seen the first time."

Anybody with information about Ortiz's disappearance or death can contact Detective Robert Navarrette with the Eddy County Sheriff's Office at (575) 887­-7551.