18-year-old man murdered, body found in Mesilla

18 year old man murdered body found in

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Detectives are investigating the murder of an 18-year-old man whose body was found dumped in Mesilla last week, a spokeswoman with the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

"This was an 18-year-old man who had a mother," said Kelly Jameson, a spokeswoman for the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office. "He has a mother that very much needs to have closure on this and we're hoping to do that."

Investigators identified the body as that of Dakota Lunceford. According to detectives, Lunceford was last seen alive in Alamogordo on Friday, July 28.

"We've just tried to follow up on any lead possible to try to determine what the motive was, who he last came in contact with, and right now, we're just coming up pretty short," Jameson said.

Lunceford's remains have been sent to the University of New Mexico Office of the Medical Examiner for further investigation.

"It's been an extremely difficult last several days. We know that a farmer found a body that was - appears to have been dumped in the Mesilla area," Jameson said. "We've had detectives working, literally, around the clock on this investigation."

Every single neighbor who spoke with ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom was shocked. Many were afraid to appear on camera.

“That surprises me because you just never hear anything," said Neal McCowan.

"This is the safest place you could be," said Neal's son, Warren.

Anyone with information on Lunceford is asked to call the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department at (575) 525-8812 or Las Cruces Doña Ana County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-888-TIPS (8477).

Information provided to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest could lead to a reward of up to $1,000. A caller may remain anonymous and need not give his or her name to collect the reward. 

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