Culberson County Cold Case Reopened

Culberson County Cold Case Reopened

CULBERSON COUNTY, TX (KWES) - It's a cold case that's been reopened out of Culberson County. 12 years ago, a Van Horn man went missing.

Authorities pursued leads and came up with nothing.

In the last 30 years, three homicides rocked Culberson County. Each one has gone unsolved.

After review, the Texas Rangers chose to revisit the disappearance of Hubert Valdez.

Valdez was 28 years old when he went missing. He was last seen leaving Gilbert's Lounge on the 300 block of East Broadway on April 26, 2003.

"We looked in houses, we went to the desert, the mountain terrain, we looked down water wells, we looked into vehicles," said Culberson County Sheriff, Oscar Carrillo.

Authorities exhausted every resource available when Hubert disappeared. From a window of an apartment near I-10, a young woman told investigators she could see four men in a scuffle with Valdez the night he disappeared. His truck was found in that spot shortly after, just minutes walking distance from the bar. A monument was placed there by Hubert's family, in hopes their loved one is found.

Although investigators are re-interviewing and re-examining evidence, three out of the four suspects and the witness have died. Simon Flores Ornelas is still alive. He is a fugitive, in addition to a person of interest, sitting in jail in Juarez, Mexico.

"He is a convicted felon, a fugitive. If we ever apprehended him, he's looking at maybe 150 years in state prison for a molestation case," said Carrillo.

After 12 years of pursuing leads, Sheriff Carrillo thinks the lone survivor could have the answer.

"What's key to solving this thing is making this young man in Mexico available to investigators. That's where we're at," he said.

The Valdez family and residents in Van Horn still await an arrest in this case.

Authorities continue to follow the rabbit trails, hoping one leads to Hubert Valdez.

"Was he held accountable for a dope case that was lost? At least, he was made out to be the fall guy. He was held accountable for what we suspect may be possibly a dope load stolen," said Carrillo.

Or was it the result of a jealous love triangle? Authorities think both might be a motive.

"The threat is gone, our suspects are gone, people are more apt to talk these days and that's what we're hoping to accomplish," said Carrillo.
If you have any information on this case, you are urged to call the Culberson County Sheriff's Office at (432) 283-2060 or Texas Ranger Royal McMullen at (915)549-3040.

If your tip provides leads to the location of the victim, you could earn a $10,000 cash reward. You will remain anonymous.