Boyfriend sought in woman’s ’93 slaying


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Joseph Vigil last heard his mother’s voice in distress.

Beatrice Montes, Vigil’s mother, had shut down for the day at her restaurant, La Mariposa, formerly at 159 1/2 Colorado Ave., on Nov. 21, 1993.

Vigil helped his mother and her boyfriend, Jose Jesus Tanori-Ruiz, count receipts and cash from the previous day’s heavy business then went to his room around 2 a.m. Vigil and Montes lived in apartments above the restaurant.

He told police he smoked his nightly joint, which was interrupted by yelling between Montes and Tanori-Ruiz, arguing in a nearby room.

The last time Montes and Tanori-Ruiz had fought — records indicate he was arrested three times for domestic violence against Montes — Vigil had intervened, much to the chagrin of his mother.

“She told me I can handle my own, stay out of it,” Vigil said in a recent interview.

Vigil went to bed, but worried when he rose around 11 a.m. and found a dirty bar because Montes always woke around 6 a.m. to clean.

“I saw her feet in her bed, then I pulled back the sheets,” he said.

Beatrice Montes, 51, had been strangled and most of the cash she had on her dresser, windfall from the previous day’s business, was gone.

Tanori-Ruiz was nowhere to be found.

Police received a break in the case in October 1994 when an undercover drug officer received information from a man who claimed he’d met Tanori-Ruiz in Mexico, where was bragging about killing Montes.

Nearly three years into the investigation, Grand Junction police in 1996 obtained an arrest warrant for Tanori-Ruiz for suspicion of second-degree murder and felony theft.

Authorities believe he fled to the Sonora region of Mexico.

Vigil, meanwhile, waits for justice for his mother, a former social worker with close ties to the Grand Valley’s migrant community who dreamed of opening her own “juke joint where people could enjoy themselves.”

“She sold everything we had to make it happen, and she made it happen,” Vigil said.


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