Vance case opening up

TV Hagenah

The Tucumcari grandmother killed in a local gift shop on Jan. 20 was “shot execution style,” New Mexico State Police Maj. Daniel Lopez said this week.

“I can’t elaborate any more than that,” Lopez said.

Joanie Vance, 62, was a mother of three and grandmother of three who had been working at the Sundowner Gallery and Gifts on First Street in Tucumcari since August. She was found dead on the floor of the gallery by her husband who had gone to the scene because his wife had not returned home in time for dinner and was not responding to his telephone calls.

No arrests have been made in connection with the case, officials have said, though police have identified “certain persons of significance,” .Lopez said.

Lopez said state police have placed information about the case on their Web site under the classification of “Cold Case Files.”

“But I want to make it clear that this is definitely not a cold case,” Lopez said.

“We put it there so more people will become aware of the case and possibly provide assistance.”

The Web site reports, “This case has NOT been classified as a cold case. Currently the State Police are seeking any information regarding the identity of the suspects involved.”

Lopez said investigators “have reason to believe that those individuals involved with the homicide were traveling through Tucumcari.”

He also said only cash was taken in connection with the slaying, not any merchandise.

“I cannot say a great deal about this, other than investigators have identified certain persons of significance whom they are interested in contacting in regards to the investigations. Knowledge of these individuals comes from a number of investigative sources; both state and federal agencies who are interested in reaching the individuals involved,” Lopez said.

A $1,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the suspects has been offered by Quay County Crime Stoppers.

Lopez said anyone with information about the homicide investigation should contact New Mexico State Police Agent Josh Armijo at 461-3300 or by e-mail at