Crime

Tiguas offering $2,000 reward after statue is vandalized, FBI investigating

EL PASO, Texas - The Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo in El Paso's Lower Valley is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons who vandalized the Noestora Piarote Memorial.

The statue depicting a Native American woman was splattered with red paint sometime between Saturday night and Monday morning.

"Why would someone do something like this? This is a statue honoring a woman, a hard working woman," said sculptor Julio Sanchez De Alba, who created the piece. "It's just hard to express in words. It's heartbreaking."

Sanchez De Alba said the Tiguas inaugurated the memorial about two months ago. 

An FBI spokesperson told ABC-7 the agency is investigating the incident as an act of vandalism, but not a hate crime. Without a motive and without a suspect, it's difficult to label the vandalism a hate crime, the spokesperson said.

The FBI emailed ABC-7 the following statement:

"As soon as the El Paso FBI was notified about alleged vandalism and destruction of property involving the Noestora Piarote Memorial located adjacent to the Ysleta del Sur Cultural Center on the Tigua Reservation, Special Agents from our Civil Rights Squad immediately were dispatched to the area.  Because the El Paso Police Department initially responded to the crime scene, the FBI has been in contact with EPPD and will continue to coordinate our investigative efforts with the EPPD's Special Investigations Unit."

A spokesman with the El Paso Police department told ABC-7 officers took the initial report Monday morning.  "As far as we know, it's just an act of vandalism," the spokesman said.

Anyone with information on who is responsible for the act of vandalism is urged to call the Tiguas at (915) 859-7913.


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