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Alleged 1986 murder suspect arrested in New Mexico

By Nick Catlin

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    LOVINGTON, New Mexico (KOAT) — The Lovington and Garland Police Department arrested a 1986 murder suspect with assistance from the FBI. Police said the homicide case recently went cold.

The arrest is for the murder of Barbara Villarreal, who died from stab wounds on Nov. 7, 1986. A large kitchen knife was recovered from the scene in Garland, Texas, along with DNA evidence.

Police arrested 85-year-old Liborio Canales and charged him federally with the murder. The suspect had just arrived in New Mexico from Mexico to see family on his birthday before being arrested, according to LPD.

The suspect was discovered after further findings with surveillance and DNA technology, and it was found he frequents Lovington. The DNA evidence found at the murder scene was entered into the FBI’s CODIS DNA database.

Both police departments worked to arrest Canales, and he was placed in the Lea County Detention Center. Canales can post a $1 million bond but is expected to be extradited to Texas this week.

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