Weatherford Democrat

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June 29, 2012

N.M. mom and son indicted for local man's murder

— Following a mother’s prodding of the FBI for nearly 10 years and dogged work by investigators in Parker County and New Mexico, a mother and son were indicted Thursday in the 2002 suspected murder of a Weatherford man.

A Lincoln County, N.M., grand jury indicted Robert Jason Langley, 37, and Betty J. Ingle, 60, both former Parker County residents, for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with evidence in the death of 39-year-old Leve “Wayne” Dewayne Lee.

“I’m hoping they will get them and fry them,” Beatrice Walker, Lee’s mother, said Thursday.

They deserve it because she believes they killed her son, she said.

Lee was sweet young man who had three children he worshiped, Walker told the Democrat last year.

Disappearance

Lee was on a trip to visit Langley in Ruisdoso, N.M., in April 2002 with Ingle, his common law wife, and Langley’s young son when he disappeared.

His mother, who lived in Arkansas, reported Lee missing in early May 2002 after Lee stopped calling her his usual two to three times a week.

Lee’s skeletal remains were found in October 2002 in a wooded area off Squaw Valley Road north of the city of Ruidoso but remained unidentified until 2011, when Lee’s children provided DNA for comparison.

“(Lee’s) mother has been hounding the FBI for a DNA comparison and they finally decided to check it,” Lincoln County Major Crimes Unit Commander Ken Cramer said.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator contacted him when DNA provided by two of Lee’s teenage children for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) matched the unidentified remains, Cramer said in November 2011.

Early investigation

When Walker reported her son missing in early May, New Mexico State Police reportedly broadcasted an “attempt to locate” throughout the state but did not find him.

The New Mexico State Police officer looking into the missing persons case contacted Ingle, who reportedly told him that Lee had disappeared from a gas station in Hope, N.M., in late April, Cramer said.

They had been driving to Roswell when they stopped to go to the bathroom at a gas station in Hope and Lee disappeared, taking the keys and leaving the truck sitting at the pump, Ingle reportedly told the police officer.

“There’s nowhere for him to go in Hope,” Cramer said, adding the Staked Plains stretch for miles around and Lee wouldn’t have known anyone in the area to get a ride from.

The officer didn’t pursue it, however, and the New Mexico case lay dormant for about nine years until Cramer received a call in late 2011 from the medical investigator.

However, Parker County District Attorney Investigator James Rutledge interviewed the family in Weatherford in 2002 shortly after Lee went missing.

“(Rutledge) delved into the situation, started asking questions,” Cramer said.

Ingle reportedly provided authorities with the names of two different cities where Lee reportedly vanished but Ingle soon moved to New Mexico.

“Your investigator couldn’t do anything because he didn’t have a body,” Cramer said.

Meanwhile, the death of the then-John Doe was ruled a homicide due to sharp force trauma, according to Cramer.

There appeared to be sharp force trauma in the rib area and trauma to the skull, as well as a stab wound to the eye socket, Cramer said.

Investigators initially thought the remains might belong to another man who had recently disappeared from the Ruidoso area, but the dental records didn’t match and the bones remained unidentified.

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