“Escaping the Arroyo”

Hi guys! I hope everyone is doing well. Today let’s look at a little book I became aware of when I was just making my way out of Albuquerque. The book is a detailed accounting of several violent crimes and the most horrific thing to happen to the victim – the aftermath of the crime. According to the author, the book educates the reader to the emotions of the griever and how their life changes after the crime.

“Escaping the Arroyo.” Photo taken from Amazon.com.

“Escaping the Arroyo” is written by Joyce Nance and tells the tales of Julie Jackson and Colene Bush, two University of New Mexico students, and the night that changed their lives.

Please, take some time to read the synopsis the author submitted. If you would like to purchase the book it can be bought here (it’s only $4.99).

“Escaping the Arroyo”

By Joyce Nance

This novel is based on a true crime committed in 1981 and is a dramatization of events that occurred before, during and after the crime. This story is told in four parts and focuses on the surviving victim.

Part one tells of the rescue, the back stories of the three main characters, the week leading up to the crime, the crime, and the escape, in that order. The main characters are Julie Jackson and Colene Bush, students at the University of New Mexico, and Michael Guzman, the criminal. The crimes committed consist of kidnapping, rape, murder and attempted murder.

Part two recounts the surviving victim’s miraculous recovery from thirty-three stab wounds, the mourning of the murder victim’s lost life, the police investigation, the criminal’s fugitive status, his confessions and his legal maneuverings leading up to his capital murder trial.

Part three details the district court trial, the insanity defense, the back stories of the testimony of the witnesses and the criminal’s ultimate conviction and death sentence.

Part four covers the appeals process, the death sentence commutation and the surviving victim’s ongoing struggles.

At first, Bob said that it looked like some kind of dead animal but then Walter said he thought he saw it moving and as they slowed down to take a look, their hearts almost stopped.

In 1981, two college students driving to Texas at two in the morning pulled over on I-40 just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico and discovered a half-nude, barely conscious young woman completely covered in blood. One of the men stayed with the girl his, while the other flagged down a trucker who broadcast a mayday call from CB. Paramedics, knowing they had no moments to spare, whisked the girl to the hospital and police began investigating this brutal attack that night.

Both Colene and Julie’s backgrounds consisted of a long string of successes. Colene, growing up in Albuquerque’s East Mountains, was an excellent student and a gifted athlete. Julie also excelled in academics and was a student council officer at her high school in Farmington, New Mexico. The criminal, Michael, one of eight children, was hated and abused by his mother, did not finish high school and drifted from low end job to low end job.

Prior to the crime, Colene and Julie went about their everyday lives of attending classes, studying, working part-time jobs and socializing with friends. One week before the crime, Colene broke her foot, which ultimately affected her ability to escape from the criminal. Michael, due to a racist incident at a party he had attended a month earlier, became obsessed with revenge, particularly against white women. To that end, he regularly trolled the main thoroughfare near the UNM campus looking for a particular blond haired woman.

On April 5, 1981, at 11:30 PM, the three characters’ lives intersect when Julie and Colene take a study break at the Frontier Restaurant across the street from the UNM campus and Michael, who is essentially stalking Julie, spots them inside the restaurant. When they eventually leave the Frontier, he grabs them at knife-point on a nearby dark and deserted street as they begin the block and a half walk back to Colene’s apartment. Using a knife stolen from work, he pushed them into his waiting car and drove them to an pitch-dark arroyo in Tijeras Canyon where he raped and killed Julie while Colene was locked in the trunk of his car. Colene escaped from the locked trunk and fled. However, because of her broken foot she was caught by the criminal, stabbed thirty-three times and left for dead.

Colene, three parts superior athlete and one part stubborn New Mexican, decided that she was not going to die in the bottom of that arroyo, began her escape. Unable to walk due to her injuries and clutching her slashed neck, she crawled up two precipitous, seventy foot embankments ending up on I-40 and found by the aforementioned college students on their way to Texas.


One response to ““Escaping the Arroyo”

  1. Amazing read. Sobering too. Especially since I drive around the areas where these things happened. I pray for the victims family and for Colene. I hope that scumbag Mike rots in prison, he should have never been allowed to live and father children on my dime. Disgusting. This book opened my eyes and has given me a renewed vigiliance for my safety and the safety of my family.

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