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Note: This story is more than 5 years old.

Cochise man a 'person of interest' in Krentz killing

A Cochise County man has been identified as a "person of interest" in the 2010 shooting death of rancher Robert Krentz.

Fronteras Desk reporter Michel Marizco reported Thursday that Sheriff Mark Dannels confirmed that a man named Manuel Corona may be involved in the case.

"He’s a local from our area," Dannels said. "He lives here in the county," Marizco reported.

From the Fronteras Desk report:

Dannels won’t give many details about the person of interest. His name is Manuel Corona, and all that’s known about him is that his 21-year old son, also named Manuel Corona, has had violent encounters with law enforcement.

In August, Corona’s son was arrested after allegedly ramming a police car in Sierra Vista. It was Dannels' son, a police officer, who was rammed in the car. In September, Corona's son was arrested again in connection with a triple shooting in the small town of Elfrida.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office hasn’t revealed much in the Krentz murder case, which is now nearly four years old.

"The case hasn’t gone cold," Dannels said. "We’re working with the Krentz family. They’re aware of this and we will do our part to bring justice to this case.”

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Dannels was not immediately available for comment Thursday night.

Krentz was found shot to death on his Douglas-area ranch on March 27, 2010, one day after a report by his brother resulted in the arrest of eight people and seizure of 290 pounds of marijuana.

Krentz, 58, died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators followed a set of footprints through the desert to the border, leading many to infer that Krentz was killed by a Mexican smuggler or illegal immigrant.

Krentz's death was often cited in the debate leading to the passage of Arizona's strict anti-illegal immigration law, SB1070.

Another man, Alejandro Chavez Vasquez,  was identified in 2011 as a person of interest in the case. Authorities suspect him of being connected to a series of burglaries in Portal, including one the day before Krentz was killed in which a handgun of the same caliber as the murder weapon was stolen.

The younger Corona was charged with three counts of attempted murder, as well as three counts each of aggravated assault, endangerment, discharging a firearm into a building, nine counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon, two counts of being a prohibited possessor and one parole violation after a September incident in Elfrida.

A 34-year-old woman and two men, ages 25 and 29, were shot in that incident. An 18-year-old Mexican national faces charges similar to those of Corona in the alleged attempted triple homicide.

Earlier, the younger Corona was charged with being a prohibited possessor of a firearm, misconduct with a weapon, tampering with evidence and possession of drug paraphernalia after an August incident in which he was a passenger in a car that was rammed into a Sierra Vista police patrol car after a traffic stop turned into a pursuit. Two other men were also arrested and charged in the ramming, including the driver, who faces an aggravated assault charge.

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3 comments on this story

Nov 8, 2013, 6:04 pm
-0 +1

well I would like to correct you on the comment the its father and son. If you would get accurate information from your source you would know that its uncle and nephew an not father and son. I am the mother of the younger Manuel Corona. My brother is 32 my son is 21 how would that be possible.

Nov 1, 2013, 5:00 pm
-0 +0

Bret Linden wrote:

“Person of interest” is a long way from “suspect”. You never know…maybe the cops want to chat up this guy because he may have been a witness, or they know he knows something.

Or even that they *think* he knows something…. You’re quite correct that being a “suspect” is something else entirely — although that doesn’t mean Corona might not become one.

Nov 1, 2013, 4:37 pm
-0 +1

“Person of interest” is a long way from “suspect”. You never know…maybe the cops want to chat up this guy because he may have been a witness, or they know he knows something.

In any event, I am pleased this case has not been given up on.

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Az Farming & Ranching Hall of Fame

Krentz in 2008.