The Strange Disappearance of Pat Garrett Alleged Killer


Lesley at Land of Enchantment has a link to an absolutely fascinating tale of Pat Garrett and the man alleged to have murdered him.  In fact, it is one of the better versions of the story I have seen.

Pat Garrett was obsessed over the alleged murders of Albert Fountain and his young son to the point where he went far into debt to purchase a ranch on what is now Hwy 70 going into Las Cruces.  As you are leaving the White Sands Missile Range, and heading toward the San Augustin Pass at the Organ Mountains, you near Garrett’s original ranch location.  The Cox ranch is on the other side of the road. Garrett just knew Fountain’s body had been stashed in the mountains on the right side of the highway as you head to Las Cruces.

He was also positive that some of the most powerful ranchers in New Mexico had been involved in Fountain’s disappearance.  My interest in the story hails from Cochise County and the fact that there are stories about Doc Holiday contacting Albert Fountain during Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Posse in March and April of 1882.  Fountain was also in Cochise County hunting cattle rustlers, some of them, in all likelihood the same characters Wyatt was after.

Albert Fountain had been in Lincoln, reading the riot act to some of the top cattlemen in New Mexico.  He left, heading to Las Cruces on what is today Hwy 70 through White Sands.  The location where he is said to have been murdered is marked today.   Garrett became obsessed with the crime.  Wyatt Earp once said that he knew who killed Fountain.

The important part of the link is this:

“…Many years later, James Hervey, the New Mexico attorney general in 1908 said that he had visited the murder site with Captain Fred Fornoff of the New Mexico Mounted Police and Carl Adamson on the day of the killing. About fifty feet from the murder site, they found a Winchester cartridge and a cigarette butt though some have claimed there were two cartridges. There were hoof prints around that suggested someone might have waited in ambush to shoot Garrett.

Fornoff thought that Garrett had been shot from two directions by two different weapons, which might be true. But it also seems true that the shot to the head was the first fired and that came from a man on horseback, near Garrett. If true, then there was no reason for the second shot from ambush. None of that mattered, really, because Brazel had confessed to the crime. Adamson said nothing about another shooter, and he had, in effect, endorsed Brazel’s story. Adamson, it might be said, was a disinterested third party and his version of the events could be considered the most accurate….”

The Fornoff Report is one of those long lost legenday documents that could change the historical record.  Unfortunately all copies have disappeared.  Why?  Well, this is New Mexico, one of the most corrupt states in the country.  It makes the Garrett murder even more important, and leaves so many unanswered questions.

Ironically, Wayne Brazel and his wife relocated across the “border” to Cochise County near the former Cowboy outlaw headquarters of San Simon. Brazel has a small ranch.  One day he goes out to check his cattle and is never seen again.

I have a feeling his disappearence is tied to both the murders of Albert Fountain and Pat Garrett.  Without the Fornoff Report we will never know.


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