Get an understanding of the differences between misdemeanors and felonies in New Mexico. Farmington Daily Times

Suspect wanted after battery on GPS monitor died


FARMINGTON — A new criminal case filed against a woman accused of murder shines light on why she possibly escaped Pre-Trial Services' custody, failed to appear at an October 2019 court hearing and remains on the run from law enforcement.

The female suspect allegedly stabbed a relative eight times after the victim showed up to claim her property in October 2019.

Khadjha Keams, 25, of Window Rock, Arizona, was charged with a third-degree felony count of aggravated battery on April 23, according to the criminal complaint.

Keams is also accused of a second-degree felony count of murder, a fourth-degree felony count of vehicle theft and a misdemeanor count of larceny, according to The Daily Times archives.

The defendant was charged with the murder of 76-year-old Gilbert Benavidez of Bloomfield after he died from an infection stemming from Keams allegedly battering him on or around April 4, 2017.

She also allegedly stole his vehicle and cell phone. A family member on Aug. 4, 2017, told law enforcement Benavidez died. 

Keams was charged with the murder case on March 13, 2018.


The stabbing case stems from an incident around Oct. 12, in Farmington, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

A Farmington Police Department Officer around 1:42 a.m. on Oct. 12, was dispatched to San Juan Regional Medical Center on reports of a victim with multiple stab wounds.

A woman initially claimed she was stabbed by the father of her children, but later told law enforcement she had no children.

She told the officer she didn't want her family to hate her for getting Keams in trouble, as they were related.

A CT scan revealed the woman was stabbed eight times, with two stab wounds to the abdomen, two stab wounds to left breast, one stab wound to top of left shoulder and three stab wounds to left shoulder area.

The victim went to visit Keams at a Farmington halfway house to collect a charger and pants she lent the defendant.

During an argument, Keams allegedly stabbed the woman. According to a court document, the woman said Keams told her she murdered someone, and she has nothing to lose.

The woman was driven to the hospital, stating she didn’t believe her relative would stab her.


Keams was interviewed by San Juan County Sheriff's Office detectives on March 12, 2018, at the McKinley County Adult Detention Center in Gallup.

She told law enforcement Benavidez picked her up in his Buick Verano, purchased beer then went to his residence on County Road 5581 in the Crouch Mesa area.

Keams allegedly attacked Benavidez after she refused to have sex with him, using an object like a screwdriver or drill to strike him, according to court documents.

Deputies were dispatched to the residence around 7:42 p.m. on April 4, 2017, in the Crouch Mesa area after Benavidez was found unconscious and bleeding from his head.

Keams was arrested on April 3, 2018 by members of the U.S. Marshals Service and was held without bond at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center until May 21, 2019.

Escape from custody

She was transferred to the Pre-Trial Services program that day and was required to wear a GPS monitor with an 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew.

Keams had two documented violations of her conditions of release including an Oct. 12 device tamper alert around 3:40 a.m., about three and a half hours after police spoke to the stabbing victim.

The battery on the GPS monitor died around 7:22 p.m. on Oct. 13.

Keams failed to show for an Oct. 21, hearing in Aztec District Court and remains wanted by law enforcement.

An Oct. 15, report filed with the court stated a relative believed Keams might be in Window Rock.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

Support local journalism with a digital subscription:

More: Window Rock woman wanted in connection to murder

Window Rock woman arrested on murder charge

New arrest warrant issued for Arizona woman accused of killing Bloomfield man

Read or Share this story: