A month later, no new leads | CraigDailyPress.com

A month later, no new leads

Murder suspect still eluding police

More than a month after the shooting death of former Craig resident Erica Manzanares, her ex-husband and the sole suspect, Duane Manzanares, is still eluding police.

“He hasn’t been captured, but we’re following up on Duane Manzanares sightings,” said Sgt. Elias Manzanares of the Pueblo Police Department, who is of no relation to the suspect.

Officers investigated more than a dozen tips that he was in Pueblo, Denver and even New York City, where one of his ex-wives reportedly was visiting.

“But nothing has been truthful,” Sgt. Manzanares said.

On June 1, Pueblo police responded to a call and found that two people had been shot between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Erica Manzanares, 30, died from a shot to the chest. Her boyfriend of one week, Dave Bryant, 19, of Denver, was shot in the face but survived, according to a June 26 article in The Pueblo Chieftain.

Manzanares, 38, is wanted on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, and it’s not the first time.

In 1982, Manzanares, then 15, was charged with criminally negligent homicide after pointing a .22-caliber pistol at his friend’s head and firing once, according to the Chieftain. He reportedly thought the gun was a toy. He served two years in youth prison.

In 1987, Manzanares faced second-degree charges on suspicion of the beating death of a man who dated his former girlfriend. The District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges because of insufficient evidence, the Chieftain reported.

Family members warned Erica about her husband’s violent nature and urged her to leave him, according to a June 2 Chieftain article. So, just three weeks before her death, she did.

Relatives said she ended nine years of abuse and wanted to start over with her new boyfriend, Bryant. But Manzanares would not allow it, they said.

Now, Erica’s ex-husband and father of her four children, Pete Montoya, 35, will care for them. Meanwhile, her relatives live in fear that Manzanares might come for them next.

Police will continue to follow up on leads about Manzanares’ whereabouts, including any in Craig, where the couple used to live.

“It’s possible, if he has friends and associates up there, he could go up there,” Sgt. Manzanares said. “But we don’t have anything for sure to say he’s there.”

He said that Manzanares has daughters living in Pueblo whom police intend to question. But for now, he encourages anyone with any tips to contact police immediately. Manzanares could be anywhere, including Craig.

“We don’t know,” he said. “He could be anywhere he has friends who would be willing to hide him out.”

Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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