In this episode of Arizona’s Coldest Cases, we look into the brutal murder of 32-year-old Kris Jake-Moon. The Native American mother was found dead on February 13, 1998, on the Arizona-Nevada border.
Through working with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, ABC15 reporter Ashley Paredez was able to obtain never-before-seen surveillance video of the last moments she was seen alive. We also spoke exclusively with family members, who still, after 25 years, are continuing to advocate for justice.
“We just want people to acknowledge that, you know, she was this beautiful light in the world and she was taken from us in a very violent manner,” said Nikki Borchardt-Campbell, Kris’ niece.
Kris was found by a man and his daughter on February 16, 1998, in a brushy part of the desert off Old Highway 91, between Littlefield, Arizona, and Mesquite, Nevada. They had been looking for firewood when they came across her body, covered with a blue blanket. The man filed a report in Mesquite before the case was turned over to the Mojave County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators say Kris had died a very violent death, apparent from evidence at the scene and her appearance. Her family found out shortly after. Now, 25 years later, they are holding on to memories.
“My aunt Kris was a very strong and proud, indigenous woman. Some of my first memories was definitely looking up to her because, you know, she was older than me, and at one point had been the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah queen,” said Nikki.
Surveillance video shows Kris with cousins and friends at the Oasis Casino the night before. It was a popular Saturday night hangout spot for gambling and drinks. It was there that they ended up meeting two Mexican nationals. Investigators said at one point, Kris was escorted out of the casino by security because of an argument. She was seen leaving with one man wearing a cowboy hat and investigators say that is the man they are still looking for.
A witness, who was with Kris’ group that night, was interviewed, saying he had worked with the man but only knew his first name. He told investigators they had taken two separate cabs to the Stateline Casino after being kicked out of the Oasis. They apparently didn’t have any money after being dropped off and again, were asked to leave. The witness said they ended up at the Virgin River Casino but couldn’t remember who was with them at the time. The last thing he said he remembered was leaving Kris in a back booth of a restaurant there so she could call her family for a ride.
“There was a phone call made that night. My aunt, my other aunt Antonia, received a phone call. It was just her saying, ‘Hey, I’m in Mesquite. If you can, can you come pick me up?’ And so, I know, that she has deep regrets from that night,” said Tami Borchardt Slayton, Kris’ other niece.
The witness also confirmed the man last seen with Kris, never came back to work the next day and never picked up his paycheck. A lot of time passed before the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office was able to dedicate an investigator solely to this case. It’s something the family is saddened by.
“It’s important for us to remember, but it’s also important for other individuals to know that there are people out there that have the same type of stories that they have. That have had issues for law enforcement on and off the reservation. It’s not just an isolated event,” said Tami.
Now Lori Miller, an investigator with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, is doing all she can to solve this case. She wasn’t with the department when the crime occurred, but this case means a lot to her.
“She is someone; she does have a name. Somebody knew her; somebody saw her that night. Somebody saw where she went and who she went with. We just need that person, after all these years, to come forward because, I mean, her family deserves it,” said Investigator Miller.
If you have any information on this case, you’re asked to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office at 928-753-0753, extension 4408.