Small New Mexico community in shock after missing 5-year-old girl is found dead

Posted at 8:43 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 20:43:06-04

Española, NM (KOAT ) — Crews had entered their third day of searching for a 5-year-old Espanola girl, when they made a heartbreaking discovery.

Officials confirmed in a press conference Wednesday that the body of Renezmae Calzada was found in the Rio Grande in the Espanola area, near the Santa Clara Pueblo.

Renezmae was reported missing Sunday evening by her mother, triggering an Amber Alert.

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff said the girl was last seen playing in her front yard that morning.

In a press conference Monday, the sheriff said one man had been arrested on outstanding warrants and could be a suspect in the girl’s disappearance. However, two days later officials told KOAT that the person arrested was not connected to the case.

At least 100 individuals with various law enforcement agencies joined the small northern New Mexico community in searching for Renezmae.

Sometime before noon Wednesday, her body was found in the river, according to the FBI.

“It was accomplished by the help of the Albuquerque Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and many any other agencies,” Sheriff Lujan said.

FBI Special Agent James Langenberg said authorities searched within half a mile of the homes of Renezmae’s mother and stepfather. About two miles of the river were also searched.

Authorities also interviewed between 175 to 200 people, according to Langenberg.

No further information has been released, including whether officials are pursuing potential suspects.

“But I can assure you, this investigation has not stopped. We’ll continue to work until we can identify the responsible party for Renezmae,” Langenberg said.

During the news conference, both the FBI and the sheriff asked the media and public to respect the privacy of the grieving family, saying this day is about Renezmae.

Anyone with tips on the case may call the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s regional dispatch at 505-753-5555.