One New Mexico family’s long-awaited Thanksgiving feast turned into an awful nightmare when out-of-town relatives arrived to find the host “dismembered and disemboweled.” Karlan and Connie Denio’s family is still trying to figure out how the planned trip turned into him being under arrest for her murder.
While relatives made their way to the couple’s house in Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon, Connie Denio was “discussing plans for Thanksgiving” in a group chat with family members, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
However, when family members arrived at the Denios’ house, they realized it was curiously empty, prompting a 911 call and an urgent request for a welfare check, according to the Journal. After police declared they couldn’t enter the house using force, the family made their own way in by removing a door off its hinges.
Karlan Denio’s sister spotted him laying in bed and his wife Connie “dismembered” on a bedroom floor once inside, according to authorities. According to Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court documents, Karlan Denio, 62, is now facing a murder charge in his wife’s death.
According to the Journal, he has diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia just two years ago, a horrible situation that may cause drastic changes in behavior. As of Saturday, it was unclear whether he had hired an attorney. According to a representative for the Albuquerque Police Department, Denio is currently being treated in a hospital for lacerations.
A neighbor, Rich Cordova, told the news site that he was “stunned” by the crime, describing the couple as “nice people” who he “would least expect” to be killed. He claimed the couple had two adult children, but it wasn’t clear if they had attended the Thanksgiving feast.
Other family members expressed their shock at the heartbreaking turn of events on social media. “So our Thanksgiving festivities didn’t end at all had we all planned,” one relative wrote on Facebook, announcing that Aunt Connie Denio “was tragically taken from this earth.”
“Please pray for immediate/extended family/friends during this very difficult time as they try and find peace and comfort in the coming days,” she wrote. Another relative shared an old photo of Connie Denio perching in a tree with two young children: “This is how I will always remember my aunt Connie… Not afraid to climb a tree in a dress.” Karlan Denio’s loved ones missed him as well, recalling how he was before his diagnosis. “In memory of 2 beautiful