Rancher Rob Krentz
Despite efforts from several law enforcement agencies, very little more is known about his death or assailant than there was after his body was found.
Krentz died March 27, 2010, and news of his death spread like wildfire across the Internet, newspaper and televisions stations, eventually reaching Phoenix and Washington, D.C.
Anytime there is any discussion concerning border security, the name of Robert Krentz is brought up. His death was a big reason state illegal immigration laws were passed.
The actions that occurred a year ago are as fresh in some people’s minds as if it occurred a year ago.
While it is still an active case, the Sheriff’s Office still does not have a suspect in the killing.
Originally, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office was looking at a “person of interest” but that individual was never found.
The original 56-page document released by the Sheriff provided some specifics, it does little to shed light on the suspect in the case.
Approximately a third of the information was redacted due to “preserving critical items of evidence and to preserve the integrity of the investigation,” Cochise County Sheriffs Department Custodian of Records, Alma Barth, said.
Robert Krentz was last heard from sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on March 27, 2010 when he was checking the wells on his ranch, by his brother, Phil Krentz. Robert had radioed Phil saying he had encountered an illegal immigrant who was apparently hurt and to call Border Patrol.
Krentz radio message was difficult to hear, due to lack of signal, but was corroborated by other local ranchers, according to reports. Krentz was to meet his son Frank Krentz, at 11 a.m. at a specified location on the ranch but never showed.
The family then began to look for Krentz and called the police at 7 p.m. to help with the search. Just before midnight the Public Safety Tucson Ranger Helicopter found Krentz dead, the report said.
Krentz’s dog, Blue, had also been shot but was still alive and later had to be euthanized at the scene due to injuries, the report said. The dog was found in the dump truck bed of the Polaris Krentz was driving and continued to protect him from investigators.
When officers found the Polaris it was still running and had appeared to come to a stop after Krentz lost consciousness from being shot multiple times, the report said.
Officers followed the ATV tracks back about 1,000 feet to where they found dog prints, footprints heading southbound and ATV acceleration marks where it had apparently spun out, this is believed to be the location of the shooting, according to reports.
An agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement later told deputies that he tracked the same set of footprints to about a mile north of the Mexican border.
The day before Robert’s death, Phil Krentz reported a number of drug smugglers on the property to Border Patrol. More than 200 pounds of marijuana was seized and the smugglers were taken into custody, according to authorities.
The autopsy report stated that Krentz had been shot several times
Several shots traveled through Krentz’s body, indicating the shooter was in close proximity. Only one bullet was recovered from Krentz’s body, according to the report.
The rancher was not shot from behind but was believed to be shot while riding his ATV, stated Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.
Person of Interest
Investigators uncovered leads about a month after the murder linking Alejandro Chavez-Vasquez, who is thought to be in his late 30s, to several area burglaries, said Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.
Chavez-Vasquez, who lives in Agua Prieta, has convictions ranging from theft, sexual assault, vehicle theft and possession of narcotics.
During one of the burglaries a gun was stolen that was the same caliber of that used to shoot Krentz, Capas said.
Chavez-Vasquez is described as being 6' 3" tall, weighing 170 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a goatee beard.
According to examination of the footprints and stride length of the shooter’s step, the assailant was six feet tall or taller, as is Chavez-Vasquez.
According to Capas, Chavez-Vasquez has never been questioned or found.