Two unidentified men rob a bowling alley, killing four people and wounding three.

Police and paramedics arriving at the bowling ally where the shooting took place

7 people were shot at the Bowling Alley

Police sketch of African American male with dark hair and mustache

Suspect #1

Suspect #1:

Gender: Male
DOB: Approx. 1960
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Eyes: Light
Hair: Dark, wavy
Remarks: Speaks excellent English with no Spanish accent

Police sketch of African American male with dark hair and mustache

Suspect #2

Suspect #2:

Gender: Male
DOB: Approx. 1940 to 1950
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 140 lbs.
Hair: Salt & pepper
Remarks: Speaks with a slight Spanish accent


On February 10, 1990, at the local bowling alley in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Ida the cook, was in the kitchen preparing for the lunch hour rush. It was about 8:00 A.M. and just an hour before opening time. The day manager, Stephanie, was in the office adding up the previous night’s receipts. Stephanie’s 12-year-old daughter, Melissa, and Melissa’s friend, Amy, were with her.

At about 8:20, Ida was surprised in the kitchen by a stranger with a pistol. He forced her towards the office where Stephanie and the girls were being held by a second gunman.   According to Ida:

“I just thought they were gonna get money and then take off, especially when they told us, ‘All of you put your heads down.'”  

The second gunman took $4,000 from the safe while the other gunman continued to yell, “Heads down!” Ida said she followed the instructions:

“When he said that, I thought, ‘These guys are leaving.’   And that’s when I felt they had shot me in the head.”  

Two men standing outside the a bowling alley

A witness saw the two men outside

Seconds later, employee Steven Teran arrived at the bowling alley with his two young children. Like the other witnesses, they were shot in the head.   All three died, along with Melissa’s friend, Amy.   Somehow, Stephanie, Melissa and Ida survived the vicious attack. Captain Fred Rubio of the Las Cruces Police Department:

“We assessed the scene immediately. We canvassed the neighborhood, and thank god we were able to come up with a couple of witnesses that were able to give us some pretty decent composites.”  

Man holding a gun up to two witnesses cowering on the floor

The gunmen shot the witnesses in cold blood

One of the witnesses was Stephanie’s brother, who we’ll call Michael. He said he had stopped by the bowling alley on his way to school:

“I saw two Hispanic gentlemen walking from the back of the building towards the front.   The older gentleman handed the younger gentleman a small case. The older gentleman squats down, and looks right at me as I’m driving towards them.   I took notice of what they were wearing, and their descriptions, hair color, skin, eyes.”  

Based on this and all the eyewitness descriptions, police were able to draw up composites of the killers.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season two with Robert Stack and season seven with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Tom

    I don’t know what kind of human being can point a gun at children and shoot them. There was the suspicion that this was a planned execution to get back at the business owner, but there turned out to be more people there than expected. They seemed to be searching for something in the office. Took some cash, but left plenty of it. The police thoroughly checked out the owner and his son, but it came to nothing. One suspicion was that the killers were Cuban and hid out in the local Cuban community after the murders. I don’t think this was a robbery gone wrong.


  2. Roy Quintana

    How come no one ever checked the roster of the bowlinbg leagues there at the time? Leagues know exactly how much the bowling alley brings on for a week and when their cash pick up is. If anything it was probably an inside job involving regulars who bowled there. I used to bowl leagues and for the most part people are fairly normal but then you get some strange weirdos. We had this one guy who got arrested for plugging a bowling ball with his “you know what,” near a playground with his bowling outfit still on. Just an example


  3. Andrew

    I bought a stolen painting from these two Cubans. In nyc. The short old man was a mute. The young viscous guy had an accent
    I called las cruces pd and told them I probably have there finger prints on the painting and the cop said. There’s been plenty of sightings. The sketches are off a little
    Andrew Mullen St. Petersburg Fl. 11/22


  4. j

    @Carrie Clarkson
    You are being racist and an idiot.
    How are you?!

    How is your comment even allowed to exist?!


  5. James H

    I can’t believe, after all this time, the puzzle hasn’t been completed. I wonder if there was other DNA left at the crime scene that they can put through their system? Very sad, indeed


  6. Dr do little

    First suspect sketch is a dead ringer for Eddie murphy


  7. Sandy

    I cried watching that segment, how could someone be evil enough to do what they did to a human being especially innocent children. Those evil men will have to answer to God for they did


  8. thinkingoutloud

    such cowards. first you’re robbing an innocent bowling alley and then 2, you decided to kill them anyways after they comply


  9. tmat34

    Not all of the evidence got away with the robbers. I remember reading that the detectives were able to lift fingerprints that they believe belong to the robbers. I have also read that numerous people with experience in criminal investigation believe the killers fled to Mexico afterwards. AMW also profiled this case and John Walsh said in an interview with Anderson Cooper that he believed both men fled to Mexico after the killings.


    • Amy

      Some of the police don’t believe they went to Mexico, some believe they stayed close for years because no one was able to determine their ID. I was supposed to be there that morning to help out. I was late that day and it saved my life but not my friends. This haunts me to this day that no one has been caught.


  10. Alexander Louis blazic

    I have a story to tell that she has criminal history her name is
    Alyssa marie Otto her stage name is Violet she was warrant for arrest for burglary and thief and drug possession her last known was 2500 block of Maryland rd in willow grove pa she was warrant date back in August of 2016 she was doing drugs back in May of
    This year .


  11. Anonymous

    I was born near Las Cruces, New Mexico.


  12. Anonymous

    Suspect #1:I Get Carlos, used sometimes, Julie, his wife is pregnant currently, Suspect #1: I get pull tab Business, locally drives and owns it, arranging for vacation now, as he can hear me, spiritually.Suspect #2: has had comments like you are away from home aren’t you? said to him, I get Phoenix, AZ


  13. Chanita jackson

    Those Men Need To Be Put In Jail That’s Not Right That Those People We’re Murdered I Mean Come On Really!?


    • Tiff

      Those guys are probably in some Mexican prison right now. However, I have heard that the Mexican court system sucks and let’s people come and go when their sentence is up. I hope that’s not true.

      Wherever those guys are, I hope they or someone close to them squeals to the authorities.

      It’s amazing how some crimes like this just go unsolved and nobody even knows who the suspects are, because they look like everyone else. Hell, I remember hearing that nobody has ever gotten around to solving the St. Louis Jane Doe Case or whoever the heck killed nine-year-old Jennifer Short and her parents.

      The latter has a sketch of the suspected killer and kidnapper, whereas nobody even knows who the St. Louis Jane Doe is, because she’s missing her head and the authorities there lost the sweater that she was wearing when shipping it to a so-called psychic. What the hell?


  14. amico

    dont u have a videos to watch? instead of reading?


    • unsolved

      Hi Amico – unfortunately we are not able to post videos on our site due to the guild restrictions. You can see episodes on Lifetime and Escape. Thanks!


  15. keke

    thats sad


  16. Johnny

    The Bowling Alley murders were one of those cases that as an Unsolved Mysteries watcher stays with you. It seems that the two suspects were familiar with the bowling alley and were prepared to execute all witnesses. These offenders probably murdered before with how quickly they shot the hostages and left with the $. This seems to be a crime that can be solved someday. Good composite drawings of the suspects and some solid detective work.


  17. Janette bowling

    I saw a white van driving east on hi way 40 in February of 1990 . I was driving thru there goin to Arkansas to vist relatives . The pic they showed on unsolved mysteries that looked 1 of the men in the passenger seat of the white van . Hope this helps.


  18. Patricia Lafleche

    I know the police in Las Cruces New Mexico will catch their suspects.What you all should do is place this unsolved murder to Unsolved Mysteries.This is the tip I hope to God will help catch them.


  19. unsolved

    Connie – we have submitted your tip to the detectives handling this case.


  20. unsolved

    Susie – we have submitted your tip to the detectives handling that case.


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