New Mexico teen arrested for murder after social media ransom scheme turned fatal

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Anna Bella Dukes, 18, was arrested Monday.
Anna Bella Dukes, 18, was arrested Monday.
Albuquerque PD

A New Mexico teenage girl is facing a murder rap for a Snapchat-fueled hostage scheme that went wrong and ended with the would-be ransom payer shot dead, cops said.

Anna Bella Dukes, 18, was arrested Monday for her part in the February 2021 murder of former correction officer Elias Otero, 24, Albuquerque police said.

Dukes allegedly used Snapchat to connect with Otero’s brother, Nicholas, then lured him to an in-person meeting at Alvarado Park, where three armed men — including her boyfriend — were waiting, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

They robbed Nicholas of money and jewelry, then brought him to his brother’s home, where they demanded Elias bring cash outside or they would kill Nicholas, KOB 4 reported.

Elias came outside and threatened to shoot the hostage-takers but the confrontation turned deadly when a man described by the Journal as Dukes’ boyfriend, Adrian Avila, 17, opened fire and fatally shot Elias, police said, according to reports.

Dukes is facing charges of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, tampering with evidence and conspiracy. Avila turned himself in last month, KRQE said. He was slapped with the same charges as Dukes.

Selfie of Elias Otero.
Elias Otero was fatally shot in the incident when the confrontation escalated.
Elias Otero/Facebook

Grieving mom Alicia Otero told the station that she believes justice will be served for her son.

“Every day we wish that we get justice and, you know, someone to pay for what they did to him and knowing they finally turned themselves in, it just feels good that it’s not gonna go unsolved,” she said.

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