Jul 31, 2023
Bond set at $250K for assault, kidnapping suspect
Managing Editor Dagoberto Romero-Moreno A judge set a $250,000, cash-only bond on Monday for a man who was arrested in New Mexico last month after he allegedly attacked his wife in Aspen with a knife,
A judge set a $250,000, cash-only bond on Monday for a man who was arrested in New Mexico last month after he allegedly attacked his wife in Aspen with a knife, bound her at the wrists and ankles with duct tape and zip ties, kidnapped one of their children and fled the area in a stolen vehicle.
Dagoberto Romero-Moreno, 50, waived advisement of felony assault and kidnapping counts and related charges at his first court appearance over the July 27 incident, which is when he “intended to disappear me,” the alleged victim told 9th Judicial District Chief Judge John Neiley.
“Now he wants to finish the job,” she said through a Spanish-to-English translator, both of whom attended the hearing virtually, while Neiley conducted the hearing from Garfield County District Court in Glenwood Springs. Romero-Moreno attended the hearing virtually from the Pitkin County Jail facility.
Romero-Moreno was released from San Juan County Adult Detention Center in New Mexico to Aspen on Saturday, according to New Mexico jail records. Using license-plate reader technology, authorities in Aztec, New Mexico, apprehended him at 6:40 a.m. on July 28 on a warrant for his arrest out of Aspen, according to jail records and an Aspen Police Department news release. Authorities also recovered and placed the child in protective custody, according to APD.
Romero-Moreno had been wanted by Aspen police for less than 12 hours by the time of his arrest. At approximately 11:33 p.m. on July 27, Aspen police were dispatched to the public bus stop next to Buttermilk Ski Area, at the intersection of Highway 82 and Harmony Road, where a bus driver reported that a woman had entered the vehicle yelling that she was “physically assaulted and all tied up.” That’s according to the arrest warrant affidavit prepared by Aspen police officer Jeremy Johnson.
When he and other officers arrived at the scene, Johnson said they saw the woman sitting on the floor of a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus, her face bruised and bloodied from cuts, with a “man-made collar that was around (her) neck,” duct tape around her ankles, and her wrists bound with duct tape and zip ties, the affidavit said.
Officers also saw that the woman’s eyelids were bleeding from being cut, and she suffered injuries to other parts of her body, the affidavit said. The woman said her husband “had gone crazy” at their Burlingame Ranch home, assaulted her and kidnapped one of their children with plans to carry out more violence, the affidavit said.
When New Mexico authorities arrested Romero-Moreno, they found $7,000 in cash and paperwork in a safe in the vehicle, said prosecutor Ben Sollars, noting that “it appears that when he was arrested, he was trying to figure out how close to Mexico he was, suggestive that he was then and probably continues to be a pretty significant flight risk.”
Sollars added, “Obviously, the affidavit in support of the arrest was put together as things were kind of unfolding on the ground, but it shouldn’t be lost on the court that that affidavit doesn’t encompass all the injuries here — way more than what you might see in the affidavit. Those include repeated strikes to the point of near unconsciousness, multiple threats to kill, tying the victim up, blindfolding her, making her leave the area, saying that he was going to kill their shared child.”
The man cut the woman’s eyelids to prevent her from seeing and inflicted cuts elsewhere, Sollars said, alleging that he “intentionally stabbed her in the back with some sort of filet knife, sought to roll her up in a blanket and take her to a car but couldn’t carry her, so ultimately had to cut the tape on her so that she could walk, and obviously she then ran to a bus stop and by the grace of God, a bus showed up right at the time; not that the defendant would be outdone when he tried to crash into the bus itself. I don’t say these things gratuitously.”
The affidavit said that Romero-Moreno had tried to cut off the RFTA bus in his Toyota Highlander, while the child was in the vehicle, and then ditched the vehicle in Snowmass Village, where he took a Chevy Trailblazer and drove it to New Mexico.
“After the suspect discarded his initial vehicle in Snowmass and stole another, the suspect was located thanks to the diligent use of license plate reader technology and prompt coordination amongst law enforcement,” the APD said in a statement issued July 28, the day of Romero-Moreno was arrested.
Romero-Moreno did not speak during the hearing; he was represented by a public defender.
Sollars asked for a $250,000 cash bond, and the alleged victim said she lives in fear.
“I cannot move forward from this,” she said. “I don’t want him to ever see the light of day, because I’m very scared.”
Though Romero-Moreno is considered a low flight risk, Neiley said the accusations were severe enough for the issuance of a high bond.
“The court finds the allegations in the affidavit are extremely serious,” the judge said. “Court further notes that the defendant was apprehended on a warrant in New Mexico and fled the jurisdiction, and even though his pretrial services report comes back as a category 1 (the lowest risk level for fleeing), I don’t think that in any way shape or form reflects the severity of the allegations and the factual underpinnings in the affidavit. I am setting bond at this time $250,000, cash only.”
A cash-only bond means that the entire amount must be paid to be released. Romero-Moreno remained in Pitkin County Jail on Monday and is due back in court Aug. 28.
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