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File: Krentz helped immigrant shortly before being killed

Robert Krentz, the Southern Arizona rancher killed in March, may have been helping an illegal immigrant shortly before he was shot to death.

Reports the Arizona Republic:

About 10 a.m. that day, Krentz radioed his brother and asked him to contact authorities because he was with an immigrant "in need of help," according to a Cochise County Sheriff's Office's homicide investigative file. The file says several people heard that transmission.

According to the file, Krentz's call to his brother was the last time anyone heard from the 58-year-old cowboy.

At 6:45 p.m., his wife phoned authorities, who began a search of the ranch near the Chiricahua Mountains. Krentz's body was spotted by a Department of Public Safety helicopter shortly before midnight, about 35 miles northeast of Douglas. He was lying next to his all-terrain vehicle, his wounded dog Blue in the back.

The ATV was still running, and Blue, who was shot during the attack on Krentz, was still trying to defend him, according to the homicide investigative file.

The report, released to the public by the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, says Krentz died of multiple gunshot wounds, reports The Benson News-Sun.

Although nearly half the information was redacted, it did disclose that Krentz was shot at close range, according to the Douglas Dispatch.

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Several shots traveled through Krentz’s body, indicating the shooter was in close proximity. Only one bullet was recovered from Krentz’s body, according to the report.

The rancher was not shot from behind but was believed to be shot while riding his ATV, stated Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.

Cochise County officials defended blacking out portions of the report.

"That was what the Sheriff's Department said we could send out, without compromising their investigation," Doyle Johnstun, chief deputy county attorney, said in the Dispatch.

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Krentz in 2008.

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