Rocio Campos wants people to know that her brother is a good person.
“He is a hard worker. He was always happy. He didn’t like trouble,” Campos said. “He came to the U.S. to work, to give his family a better life.”
Campos reported that her brother, Gregorio Salazar Campos, was missing to the Moab Police Department on March 29. She had not seen him since March 25. His body was found in the water near the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Colorado River the morning of Sunday, April 7.
“The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds to the victim,” said Grand County Sheriff Steve White.
Two males and one woman have been arrested so far.
“It is still under investigation,” White said. “Multiple people have been questioned.”
Rocio Campos said that her brother was a construction worker during the day and worked at a restaurant at night to send money to his family in Torreon, Mexico.
He has a wife and three sons: Giovanni, 13; Oscar, 11; and Angel 9.
“Angel still thinks he is coming back home,” Campos said.
Campos said that he was working to buy a home in Mexico and give his children an opportunity to go to school.
“Now we don’t know how we’re going to pay for the house. We don’t know how to pay for his children’s school. We don’t know what will happen now,” Campos said.
Charles Anthony Nelson and Brody Blue Kruckenberg, both age 16, were taken into custody on Saturday, April 6. Each has been charged with first degree murder and obstruction of justice.
If convicted, each could face up to life in prison.
Corina Yardley, 44, the mother of Kruckenberg, was arrested Monday, April 7. She was charged with obstruction of justice.
On Saturday, April 6, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office received information that Nelson claimed to have killed someone and said “the person was an illegal so no one would miss him.”
Campos said that it scared her when she heard this.
“We are afraid that if we are undocumented that no one will miss us,” Campos said.
Leticia Bentley, the outreach coordinator for the Moab Valley Multicultural Center (MVMC), said that Moab’s Latino community is afraid.
“There have been people who have been unable to sleep at night,” Bentley said. “They are afraid because they feel their life has no value.”
The MVMC is offering counseling through Four Corners Behavioral Health and private counselors.
“We will do the intake interviews. We will make referrals,” Bentley said.
According to the probable cause statement, Nelson had been contacted by Kruckenberg who said that Gregorio Campos was asleep in his mother’s bed and said “let’s kill him.” Nelson said that Kruckenberg said that he couldn’t kill Gregorio Campos and asked Nelson to do it.
According to the informant, Nelson said he pointed the gun through a crack in the doorway and the first shot went through Gregorio Campos jaw. When the victim began to regurgitate, Nelson shot two more times. He went on to say that they used Yardley’s truck to dump the body in the Colorado River.
Nelson and Kruckenberg were questioned about the incident and supplied details with the shooting and dumping of the body.
A search warrant was served on Yardley’s residence near the end of Riversands Lane on the northwest side of Moab.
Evidence supported the described location of Gregorio Campos’ death. Blood was found in the area near the head of the bed on both the carpet and the wall. The mattress in the master bedroom was new and replaced on March 30.
The information provided by Nelson and Kruckenberg led to the recovery of Gregorio Campos’ body in an area known as the Old Boat Dock, which is near the pedestrian bridge crossing the Colorado River.
Three slugs were recovered from Gregorio Campos’ head by the Utah Medical Examiner. The bullet entry points were consistent with the description from the informant. His body still has not been released. Due to being in the water for several days, the body was not in good condition. The medical examiner is using dental identification to make sure that the body is Gregorio Campos. It may take up to two weeks, Campos said.
“His family was hoping maybe it is not him,” Campos said. She said she knew it was her brother however, by recognizing the tattoos on his body. “It is my brother and I will never see him again.”
Campos said that she trusts in justice.
“I trust the law does what it needs to do. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or what your status is, people should be treated like a human being,” Campos said. “He was a human being with a family. His family is suffering because we love him so much. His mom, his wife and I are suffering.”
White said that he was concerned about the phrase Nelson reportedly said that “the person was an illegal so no one would miss him.”
He said that if anyone in the Latino community felt threatened or unsafe should alert authorities.
“Report and we will act upon it,” White said.