New Mexico Woman Fakes Kidnapping Story After Crash Kills Retired Firefighter, Police Officer: Charged with Murder

A woman has been charged with murder after investigators found that she faked her own kidnapping, leading cops on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash that killed a Santa Fe police officer and retired Las Vegas firefighter.

Jeannine Jaramillo, 46, faces two counts of murder in the first degree and other charges for allegedly killing Santa Fe Police Officer Robert Duran, 43, and retired firefighter Frank Lovato, 62.

Reports of Kidnapping Led to High Speed Chase that Killed Duran, Lovato

Jeannine Jaramillo
Jeannine Jaramillo Twitter

Initial reports indicated a man had kidnapped Jaramillo at knifepoint from an apartment complex near Sawmill Road and St. Francis Drive. Police said they later determined Jaramillo made up the story and was driving the car that led police on a wrong-way chase on Interstate 25.

According to the New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe police initiated a pursuit with a white Chevrolet Malibu on Wednesday, March 2 after receiving reports of a kidnapping. Two police vehicles, two civilian vehicles and the stolen vehicle Jaramillo was in crashed near the Old Pecos Trail exit. This was the fatal collision that killed Lovato and Duran. Jaramillo suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Jaramillo Claimed She was Kidnapped at Gunpoint by Her Boyfriend

Jaramillo allegedly told a woman at the apartment complex that she was being kidnapped, prompting the woman to call 911. Speaking between the crash and her Saturday arrest, Jaramillo also told investigators and local news outlet KOB that her boyfriend kidnapped her at knifepoint. He also had a gun, she said.

Jeannine Jaramillo
Jeannine Jaramillo in an interview with KOB-TV in the wake of the fatal car crash. Twitter

"I crawled out the driver side window, I fell to the ground and I looked up and there was the police, and I just ran for my life, and I was screaming, 'help me,'" Jaramillo said. "I'm crying, I was hysterical, I was in shock."

Jaramillo claimed to have blacked out during the crash and that she did not remember how the boyfriend escaped. The outlet learned through a search warrant that officers only saw her, and no one else, leave the vehicle.

Jaramillo's DNA Found on Airbag, Made Up Similar Story Previously

However, investigators found Jaramillo's DNA on the driver's airbag. They also learned that Jaramillo had previously given a ""suspiciously similar" for crimes she committed.

In September 2021, Jaramillo reported that a man held her against her will with a knife to her neck and he hid on the floorboard following a high-speed chase. She was charged at the time with receiving a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing and possession of methamphetamine, authorities said.

KOB-TV and other news outlets had reported that court documents said Jaramillo twice previously was involved in pursuits in Cibola County in September and October. She had told officers she had been carjacked but no other person was found.

The 2019 Chevy Malibu driven by Jaramillo was stolen Monday from a mobile home park off Grand Avenue in Las Vegas, city police Chief Antonio Salazar said Saturday. Jaramillo was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the Wednesday crash and booked into the Santa Fe County jail.

She also faces charges of reckless homicide by vehicle, receiving and transferring a stolen vehicle, and tampering with evidence, according to the Santa Fe District Attorney's office.