A long-awaited Thanksgiving party turned into an unimaginable nightmare for a New Mexico family after relatives from out of town arrived to find the host “dismembered and disemboweled.”
Relatives of Karlan and Connie Denio are now struggling to understand how their planned vacation ended with him arrested for her murder.
The day seemed to be going exactly as planned as relatives headed to the couple’s Albuquerque home on Thursday afternoon, with Connie Denio “discussing Thanksgiving plans” in a group chat with family members. , according to him Albuquerque Journal.
But once family members arrived at the Denios’ home, they noticed it seemed uncharacteristically empty, prompting a 911 call and a desperate request for a welfare check, the police said. Daily reports. After police said they couldn’t use force to enter the facility, relatives found a way in: they took a door off its hinges.
Once inside, Karlan Denio’s sister discovered him lying on the bed and his wife Connie “dismembered” on a bedroom floor, police said.
Karlan Denio, 62, now faces a murder charge in the death of his wife, according to Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court records.
the Daily reports that family members told investigators that he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia just two years ago, a devastating disease that can cause drastic personality changes.
It was not clear as of Saturday whether he had retained a lawyer. He was quoted as a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department as telling the Daily that Denio is currently being treated at a hospital for lacerations.
Rich Cordova, a neighbor, told the news outlet he was “stunned” by the murder, describing the couple as “good people” who he would “least expect” to suffer such a fate.
He said the couple had two grown children, though it was not immediately clear if they had turned up for Thanksgiving dinner.
Other family members took to social media to express their shock at the heartbreaking turn of events.
“So our Thanksgiving festivities didn’t end if we all planned it,” a 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 to find peace and comfort in the days ahead,” he wrote.
Another family member shared an old photo of Connie Denio perched 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.”
Other loved ones mourned Karlan Denio as well, sharing memories of what he was like before his diagnosis.
In memory of 2 beautiful people. RIP,” wrote a female relative.