Autopsy: Las Vegas official was depressed, bulimic — (The Santa Fe New Mexican)

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The Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)

January 22, 1998

Author: STEVE TERRE    []

But colleague counters investigators who said Gabaldon exhibited `bizarre behavior’ at work before she killed herself
An autopsy report says Las Vegas, N.M., housing director Lucy Gabaldon had been depressed and bulimic and was taking Prozac in the days before she was found dead from a gunshot wound in her car southeast of Santa Fe.The report, released this week by the state Office of the Medical Examiner, said that the Friday before she died, Gabaldon was sent home from work for “bizarre behavior” not recognizing colleagues and  “talking nonsense.”

However, the report was disputed Wednesday by a co-worker.

“No, no, there was nothing like that,” said Albert Montoya, now interim director of the Las Vegas Housing Authority.  “She did go home that day. She just looked like she was real tired, like she hadn’t had much sleep. She had a meeting with the maintenance people, then she went home.”

Montoya also said there was no truth to the report that Gabaldon was  “talking nonsense” and did not recognize people. “She was herself that day,” he said. “She just looked tired, that’s all,” he said.

Gabaldon never showed any outward signs of depression, Montoya said.   “That was the thing about her. She was always 100 percent professional. She never let her personal life interfere with work.”

Santa Fe County Sheriff Benjie Montano on Wednesday confirmed that his investigators gave the Office of the Medical Investigator the information about Gabaldon’s behavior on the Friday before she died.

“They said they got it from a couple of her employees,” Montano said.

Gabaldon was found shot to death in her Toyota 4-Runner on Dec. 17 off Nine Mile Road.

The Office of the Medical Examiner last week ruled that Gabaldon, 48, committed suicide by shooting herself in the mouth with a .22-caliber handgun.

Gabaldon and her husband had been separated about three weeks before her death.

The autopsy report revealed several details about her death. Among them:

Sheriff’s investigators found in the passenger side of the 4-Runner, a 32-inch strap tied to a 64-inch electrical cord, one end of which was placed through a clip to form a loop. Originally the investigators thought this might be some sort of ligature. There were two horizontal marks on the right side of Gabaldon’s neck. “However, autopsy revealed no significant injury in the superficial or deep structure of the neck,” the report says.

Gabaldon had abrasions and bruises on her face, neck, arms and legs. These were described as minor. The report lists nine superficial abrasions and a bruise on her face.

A .22-caliber pistol was found in her left hand. There were two bullet holes in the front windshield and two misfires in the chamber.

According to the report, Gabaldon’s Toyota was first spotted off Nine Mile Road about 1 p.m. on Dec. 16 the day before sheriff’s deputies were called to the 4-Runner.

There was no alcohol or  “drugs of abuse” in Gabaldon’s system at the time of her death.