Gaines County man sentenced after wife's body found nude, bound in New Mexico

Gaines County man sentenced after wife's body found nude, bound in New Mexico
Juan Manuel Villegas
Carlos Najera (Source: Lea County Detention Center)
Carlos Najera (Source: Lea County Detention Center)

GAINES COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - A man accused of killing his estranged wife and dumping her tied-up, naked body in a New Mexico ravine in 2013 has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The Hobbs Police Department arrested Juan Manuel Villegas and Carlos Najera for Capital Murder on Dec. 10, 2013. The warrants for their arrests originated from the Gaines County Sheriff's Office for the murder of 24-year-old Ana Villegas.

Ana was reported missing by family members on Nov. 21, 2013. Her body was later found in the Pecos River by New Mexico authorities on Dec. 2.

Medical investigators determined that Ana was asphyxiated.

The investigation of Ana's murder was conducted by the FBI, Eddy County Sheriff's Office, Hobbs Police Department, and the Gaines County Sheriff's office.

On June 1, 2018, Villegas accepted a plea agreement offered by the District Attorney's office as a jury was being selected for his trial, according to the Seminole Sentinel.

As part of the deal, the DA removed the capital murder charge from Juan Villegas' list of charges as part of the plea agreement.

Investigators believe Villegas and Carlos Najera of Hobbs, N.M. abducted Anna Villegas from her house in western Gaines County before they killed her and dumped her body off Highway 31 (Potash Mines Rd.) near a railroad bridge near Loving, N.M.

Najera, in October 2016, entered into a plea agreement with the 106th District Court for his alleged involvement in the incident. The DA's office agreed to drop their capital murder and aggravated kidnapping charges for him. He was also sentenced to 30 years.

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