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Graduate student found dead at home in New Mexico on Christmas Day

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Roberto Velasquez, a 22-year-old first-year master’s student in electrical engineering, and three other members of his immediate family were found dead at their house in an Albuquerque, New Mexico suburb on Wednesday.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole notified the Stanford community in an email on Saturday

“Together as a Stanford community, we mourn this loss and family tragedy,” she wrote. “We feel the stark contrast of this profoundly sad news with the spirit of joy, love and charity we normally associate with the winter holidays.”

Authorities are treating the incident as a murder-suicide but have not identified a suspect, saying the investigation is ongoing, according to the Associated Press.

“This is a tragic event for the family and for the people in our communities. Our officers and detectives understand the impact this incident has on our entire city,” said Police Capt. Andrew Rodriguez in a public statement.

Among those dead were Roberto’s parents Carlos, 50, and Marilyn, 45, as well as his brother Adrian, 14. All of the victims died of gunshot wounds. In an affidavit filed in court Thursday, the Rio Rancho police added that a handgun was found under Carlos’ body. 

While the nationwide violent crime rate in the fell sharply over the past decade, Albuquerque has one of the highest rates, with 1,365 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, according to recent FBI crime statistics

Brubaker-Cole urged individuals to recognize “the importance of finding support in the strength of our community, reaching out for help, and knowing that we will be there for one another.”  

The University has made resources available over winter break to individuals in need of support following the announcement. Details and further contact information are posted on the Student Affairs website


Contact Anupriya Dwivedi at adwivedi ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Anupriya is a Masters student at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford. Similar to her portfolio life, career and interests, her contributions to the Daily are also a motley combination of Arts & Life (Music, Culture and Theatre), Sports Photography and some News. Anupriya has moved to Stanford from Switzerland, where she was working as a strategy consultant. She has also been a feature writer for The Times of India, has published thought pieces on banking, culture and strategy and even won a National science fiction writing competition. Her writing wildly oscillates between the formality derived from her academic life (Neuroscience at the University of Oxford as a Commonwealth Scholar) and an irreverence from her culture soaked lifestyle in London and Zurich. When she's not attending theatre premieres in Palo Alto, or buried in GSB work, she also contributes to popular science journals or writes geeky policy memos.