Based on their discovery, the three men pieced together a modus operandi. The selected cattle were being marked with water-soluble UV paint containing potassium and magnesium; this suggested that the marking was done quite soon before the operation was to take place. Under cover of darkness, whatever aircraft that the team employed would fly over the region and identify the marked animals using a blacklight beam that was invisible to any observers. The selected animal was tranquillized, probably from the air with a rifle, and then the mutilation operation was performed, either on the ground or, as Valdez believed, after the victim had been hauled to another location – hence the rope marks on some of them. Valdez told us that the mutilators had their surgery-cum-laboratory in one of many disused mine shafts on top of the Archuleta Mesa. Their grisly work over, they then returned the animal to the pastures, mutilated and drained of blood, to be found by an unlucky rancher.
Although Valdez’s enthusiasm for the subject was clear, so was his anxiety; at one point he hinted to us that he had found the entrance to a military facility on top of the Mesa, but he quickly backed away from the subject when asked for more information. Valdez clammed up like this a few times, as if he felt he’d said something he shouldn’t. We later learned that there was good reason for his hesitance: while conducting his investigations back in the 1970s he’d become convinced that he was under surveillance, a suspicion borne out by the discovery of a microphone ‘bug’ in his telephone handset.
Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Valdez passed away in his sleep at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico aged 67, on 7 August. Here he is on the right, alongside our mutual friend Project Beta author Greg Bishop.
Retired for some years, Gabe was a much-respected and honoured New Mexico State Police Officer and Gaming Control Board Investigator, based for many years around Dulce, New Mexico. It was here, during the mid-1970s, that Gabe took a lead in investigating a rash of bizarre cattle ‘mutilations’, conducted by persons unknown, and a wave of seemingly-connected UFO sightings. As a result, he was drawn into the sad and strange story of physicist and UFO enthusiast Paul Bennewitz, as told at length in Mirage Men.
John Lundberg and I met and interviewed Gabe twice at his home, where he was unfailingly friendly and generous with his time. Gabe had clearly been a fearless lawman, but he was still uncomfortable talking…
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