A New Mexico couple is accused of murdering a woman who was found nearly decapitated with a sword.
Shortly before 2 p.m. on Oct. 29, officers with the Santa Fe Police Department responding to a residence on a report of a suspected homicide located the body of 21-year-old Grace Jennings and a bloody sword in the garage.
The victim exhibited “several injuries consistent [with] being cut or stabbed with a sharp object” as well as injuries “consistent with attempts to decapitate,” police wrote in a criminal complaint obtained by People.
The following day, police arrested two suspects in the case, Kiara McCulley, 19, and her 25-year-old boyfriend, Isaac Apodaca and charged each with one open count of first-degree murder. The pair also face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and tampering with evidence.
The night of the slaying, the complaint alleges McCulley said she “had a period of time where she could not remember what had happened” because she battled mental health issues, but she had “fantasized multiple times” about killing Jennings and was “partially hopeful” she was no longer alive.
The complaint states Apodaca claimed he didn’t take part in the murder and alleged McCulley was planning to murder Jennings since 2020.
That year, according to the complaint, McCulley claimed she was sexually assaulted by as many as 17 men and alleged Jennings “collected money.”
Aaron Ortiz, the captain of the Santa Fe Police Department, confirmed to The Santa Fe New Mexican an assault was reported at the time, “but not with the details that [McCulley] claimed during her interview.”
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Despite Apodaca claiming he had nothing to do with the grisly murder, police said they recovered messages from his phone that allegedly implicated him in the crime.
“Remember, you'll move up the perks in the black market since this is your first,” one message allegedly reads, according to the complaint, and another allegedly states: “I am wanting you to kill her, you have to end your suffering by ending her joy.”
Detectives confronted Apodaca about the messages, the complaint states, and he then allegedly responded, “I do mean what it says in that text.”
During a police interview, the complaint states, McCulley claimed her boyfriend “is in charge of a secret organization called ‘Ghost,’” and the organization “gets rid of people who are in charge of sex trafficking or hurting kids.”
According to the complaint, McCulley told investigators Apodaca “kept telling her to kill Ms. Jennings so that [McCulley] could get ranked up in her platoon.”
The investigation continues.
“The unexpected and tragic death of Grace Jennings has turned upside down the world of those of us who knew and loved her,” states a GoFundMe set up in the victim’s name.
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