Kirtland mother searches for information on her son's killer as FBI offers $5,000 reward

Gunshot victim was found on July 25 in field in Nenahnezad

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • The FBI has issued a reward of $5,000 for information that will lead to the arrest of conviction of the person or people responsible for the death of 23-year-old Zachariah Juwaun Shorty.
  • His body was found on July 25 on a dirt path in a field west of the Nenahnezad Chapter house.
  • Anyone with information in the case is asked to call 505-889-1300 or visit tips.FBI.gov.

FARMINGTON — The mother of 23-year-old Zachariah Juwaun Shorty wants justice for her murdered son, and hopes a reward posted by the FBI will speed that along.

The Kirtland resident’s body was found on July 25, 2020 on a dirt path in a field west of the Nenahnezad Chapter house, according to Shorty’s mother, Evangeline Vangie Randall-Shorty. 

Shorty’s cause of death is listed as gunshot wounds, a revelation that brought more pain to a family that had already recently lost another family member in a vehicle crash.

“I just feel, I just feel so robbed,” Randall-Shorty said. “My baby was taken. He was our baby.”

The FBI has issued a reward of $5,000 for information that will lead to the arrest of conviction of the person or people responsible for Shorty’s death.

Federal authorities urge anyone with any information about his death to come forth.

A life taken

Randall-Shorty spoke to The Daily Times about her son’s life, the last time she saw him alive and searching for his killers after losing her second child.

Shorty’s mother described Zachariah as a loving, sarcastic and caring person who went out of his way to help others.

He enjoyed cooking, concocting new mixed drinks and watching the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers NFL teams play football. 

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Zachariah Juwaun Shorty

One of Shorty's passions was producing his hip-hop/rap music and uploading it to YouTube.

Zachariah used his music to help process the grief he felt after his brother, Christian Shorty, died in a crash in 2015 while he was drinking and driving, according to Randall-Shorty.

Zachariah had a four-year-old daughter with Ingrid Toledo, who he referred to as his “baby mama,” according to his mother. 

Zachariah’s mother grapples with the fact her granddaughter won’t grow up to see what a great man her father was.

Zachariah and his father Myron Shorty both were arrested and faced felony drug charges in August 2019. Zachariah pled guilty to a felony count of trafficking controlled substances and Myron to a felony count of conspiracy to commit drug trafficking. Both got probation.

Randall-Shorty said she knew her son had an issue with drugs and pointed out how he had his flaws. She added that she was very protective of her son following the arrest.

A final visit

The last day Randall-Shorty saw her son was on July 21 when she dropped off some food for him while he was staying at the Journey Inn at 371 Airport Drive in Farmington.

“I hugged him and told them that I loved him, not knowing that would be the last time," Randall-Shorty said.

She received two phone calls that night from her son’s phone, from friends stating Zachariah hadn’t returned to the motel room.

Randall-Shorty noted it was odd that Zachariah would leave without his cell phone.

That launched a search by Zachariah’s family including Myron, over several days as they searched around the motel and neighboring communities in the Four Corners region.

It was on July 23 that she filed a missing person’s report for Zachariah.

Randall-Shorty spoke to an employee of the New Mexico Office of The Medical Investigator on July 27 and heard them describing her son over the phone.

“I’m like, no, no, no, no, it can’t be,” Randall-Shorty said.

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She was questioned in a July 28 meeting at the Farmington Police Department where Navajo Nation law enforcement and the FBI were present. 

It wasn’t until 5 p.m. that evening Zachariah’s family got confirmation his body was found in Nenahnezad.

The family was able to locate the owners of the private lot where his body was found, and they were able set up a memorial for Zachariah at the site.

They put flowers up in the field, which she described as desolate and cold.

It wasn’t until the family received his autopsy report that they learned he was shot to death.

It's been a struggle for the family, as Myron and Randall-Shorty have had two sons die, and their daughter Katrina Shorty suffered the loss of her brothers.

Randall-Shorty shared her frustration with the lack of progress in the investigation of her son’s death. She hopes the FBI reward will help lead to the arrest and conviction of her son’s killers.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call 505-889-1300 or visit tips.FBI.gov.

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

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