Farmington Police Department assigns detective to cold case investigations

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Police Department's first full-time cold case detective will meet next week with the family of Patsy Taylor, whose murder in July 1991 remains unsolved.

The department announced this week that Detective Daven Badoni will be responsible for investigating 12 homicides that remain unsolved, many of which date back more than 20 years. Taylor, 52, was found bludgeoned to death on July 10, 1991, near the intersection of Camino Rio and Camina Contenta in the Caminos neighborhood south of the Bloomfield Highway.

Evidence from the scene suggested she was killed during a botched sexual assault.

Badoni, a U.S. Army veteran, has been with the department since 2005, according to a department press release. He served as a patrolman until 2010, when he was promoted to detective.

In 2013, he was selected as the domestic violence detective and served on the San Juan County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force.

Badoni said in an interview that he has always valued the investigative aspect of police work and the ability to follow a case from beginning to end.

He said a cold case investigation is unique in that he is removed from the initial investigation; his job is to review the work of other detectives.

"Time is my most important challenge in this case," he said. "I won't have the ability to collect physical evidence or do canvasses to locate witnesses."

Farmington police Chief Steve Hebbe said the department previously reviewed cold cases once a year, as required by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, but that was not enough.

"I felt that was more hit or miss, depending on the workload for the individual detectives," he said. "Maybe we weren't able to stay after it as much."

He said changes in technology, including improvements in DNA testing and the rise of social media, also increases the likelihood that cold cases can be solved.

Hebbe said even the passage of time can be beneficial.

"Maybe it is easy enough to keep a secret for a month or two, when the pressure is on you, but over the span of years, people say stuff," he said. "You see that across the country. People slip up, and that is kind of what we are hoping for, too."

Hebbe said the department's success in recruiting new officers last year allowed the department to devote a detective solely to cold cases.

He said once a few homicide cases have been solved, the department will look to expand its investigation into other crimes that remain unsolved, such as rapes.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.