Sheriff's Office seeks federal help in manhunt

Steve Garrison
Police have released this photo of Diego Mark. An arrest warrant has been issued for the 18-year-old in connection to a stabbing on Sunday.

FARMINGTON — An official with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office said Monday federal agents were assisting in the search for Diego Mark, the 18-year-old Shiprock man wanted in relation to a stabbing Sunday morning at a prom party.

Sheriff's detective Sgt. Candice Montoya said Monday her office has seized the pick-up truck they believe Mark used to flee the scene of the stabbing and to run another woman's vehicle off the road, but she said Mark remained at large Monday evening.

Mark is charged in Aztec Magistrate Court with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony, on allegations he stabbed Seneca Ashley, 18, at a residence on County Road 6483, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Mark attended a party at the residence after the Kirtland High School prom, the affidavit states. Ashley told detectives Mark stabbed him in the abdomen outside the residence and then chased after 18-year-old Caitlyn Smith, who fled the residence in a vehicle.

Mark allegedly rear-ended the woman's vehicle with his pick-up truck near County Roads 6480 and 6487 in Kirtland, causing Smith's vehicle to roll over.

After her vehicle wrecked, Mark allegedly yelled at the woman: "That's what you get b****," according to the affidavit.

Smith was treated at San Juan Regional Medical Center for minor injuries to her right leg and face, the affidavit states. Three stitches were required to close Ashley's stab wound, according to the affidavit.

Montoya said an off-duty sheriff's lieutenant spotted Mark's vehicle Sunday morning headed toward Shiprock.

She said Navajo police officers stopped the vehicle after a brief chase near Shiprock and Mark was arrested on tribal charges of unlawful flight, criminal damage to property and two counts of assault on a peace officer.

Though Mark was taken into custody by tribal police, he was released before the sheriff's office issued its arrest warrant in the stabbing, according to Montoya.

Capt. Ivan Tsosie of the Navajo Police Department's Shiprock Police District did not respond Monday to an email seeking comment.

Montoya said the sheriff's office has requested assistance from the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service to capture Mark, who may be hiding on the reservation, where deputies do not have the authority to make an arrest.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher confirmed Monday his agency was assisting in the search.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.