Unspeakable Crimes The Brutal Las Cruces Bowling Alley Murders Have Remained Unsolved For Over 25 Years  

Jacob Shelton
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In the early hours of February 10, 1990, two gunmen barged into a bowling alley in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and committed one of the most heinous unsolved murders that’s ever been recorded in the US. 

The Las Cruces Bowl massacre involves some of the worst murders that occurred in bowling alleys. Not only did the perpetrators shoot all of their victims multiple times, execution style, but they finished their crime by setting the building on fire. These were criminals who didn’t want to leave anyone alive. The fact that they haven’t been caught in more than 20 years is absolutely maddening.

Murders taking place in bowling alleys are a rare tragedy, which makes the Las Cruces Bowl massacre even more baffling. These unsolved bowling alley crimes are some of the worst ironies of modern crime, but thanks to modern DNA and surveillance, it’s highly unlikely that anything like this will ever happen again. The following Las Cruces bowling alley murders facts break down exactly what happened on that terrible morning and the ongoing investigation into the identity of the killers.

Two Men Shot Everyone They Saw In The Bowling Alley, Then Set It On Fire

Two Men Shot Everyone They Saw... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Brutal Las Cruces Bowling Alley Murders Have Remained Unsolved For Over 25 Years
Photo: Steve Snodgrass/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

On the morning of February 10, 1990, two gunmen entered the Las Cruces Bowl and in a short amount of time they scarred Las Cruces, New Mexico forever. The bowling alley's cook, Ida Holguin, was doing prep work that morning when the gunmen came in through an unlocked back door and began herding everyone into the manager's office at gun point. 

Once there, the unmasked gunmen grabbed $5,000 from the office's safe before shooting everyone else at pointblank range and setting fire to the building. As the building began to burn the two men made a run for it and disappeared without a trace. 


A 12-Year-Old Called 911

One of the victims, 12-year-old Melissa Repass, was able to maintain her cognizance long enough to call 911 despite having a bullet lodged in her head. As the office burned around her she calmly spoke to an emergency dispatcher and explained what happened. In a horrifying recording that still exists, she tells 911 that the men shot her five times and that there were seven victims in total. 

When the dispatcher told Repass that help was on the way all the girl could muster was, "Please hurry. There's a bullet in my head." Because of her quick thinking in the face of death, Repass was able to save herself, Ida Holguin (the bowling alley's cook), and bowling alley manager Stephanie Senac.


As The Fire Was Burning, More Victims Walked In

This robbery was so poorly planned from the beginning that it's amazing that no one was ever caught for the crime. As the killers were in the manager's office stealing $5,000 and holding five people at gun point, the bowling alley's mechanic, Steve Teran, inadvertently walked in on the sick scene with his two daughters. 

The killers, who were setting fire to paperwork in the office as the Terans walked in on them, brutally did away with the entire family as the office began to burn. 



The Killers Were Not Wearing Masks, Yet No One Was Able To Identify Them

When the killers burst into Las Cruces Bowl on that February morning in 1990, it's likely that they didn't think they were going to run into seven people. Because of this miscalculation, neither of the men were wearing masks. It's impossible to understand their intentions, but it's likely that they thought they would only be dealing with one or two people tops, and that they would shoot to kill.

The killers were described as being Hispanic males, one of them around 30 and the other close to 50 years in age. The younger killer had dark wavy hair and no accent, while the older man was going gray and he had somewhat of an accent. With the amount of damage that these two did it's amazing that any of their survivors can remember anything .