Tera Chavez, a 26-year-old mother of two, died on October 22, 2007, from a gunshot wound from her husband’s service weapon. Levi Chavez, a police officer with the Albuquerque Police Department, called 911 and said he had found his wife’s body and that she had committed suicide. However, once investigators began looking into the case, they had some questions about Levi Chavez’s extramarital activities and wondered if he was involved in her death, PEOPLE reported.
According to the outlet, investigators found that Chavez had many mistresses and had been with one the night before his wife’s death. Moreover, he quickly moved on and within two months was engaged to Heather Hindi, a fellow Albuquerque police officer. Chavez was eventually arrested and charged with the murder of his wife and the case went to trial in July 2013.
After weeks of testimony and nearly two days of jury deliberations, the jury found Levi Chavez not guilty of the murder of his wife, KOAT reported. Since Tera Chavez’s tragic death in 2007, the former police officer has maintained that she committed suicide and told reporters after his acquittal, “I’m not surprised at all. I’m not guilty. I’m innocent. I told you guys that from the beginning. I knew I’d be acquitted. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
On the other hand, Tera Chavez’s family has remained firm in their belief that she was killed, Alibi reported.
Tera Chavez’s Parents Said From the Moment They Found Out She Was Dead, They Knew It Wasn’t Suicide
Joseph and Theresa Cordova, Tera Chavez’s parents, told Alibi they knew right away that their daughter hadn’t committed suicide. Joseph Cordova said when the detective came to the door, “He started telling us about Tera … apparently it’s suicide. I said, ‘No way. You have to stop what you’re doing right now and lock down the house'” to preserve the evidence. He said he knew Tera Chavez had struggled in her marriage but her life had turned around.
Tera Chavez had decided to start her own salon and was thinking of separating from her husband. “I think she was entering a new phase in her life,” Joseph Cordova told the outlet. “The independent Tera.”
Theresa Cordova told Oxygen producers for the show Accident, Suicide or Murder that her daughter had once told her that if anything bad happened to her, “Levi did it.”
Tera’s Chavez’s Parents Want to Be in Their Grandkids’ Life & Want Her Children to Know She Didn’t Commit Suicide
Theresa and Joseph Cordova say the process has put a strain on the family. They want to continue to be in their grandchildren’s lives, who are now in the custody of Levi Chavez, but have to balance how to share what happened to their mother without speaking ill of their father to his kids.
According to Alibi, the Cordovas said at first, they stayed in contact with Chavez so they could see the grandkids, but things changed after the civil lawsuit and the criminal case were filed. Unfortunately, the Cordovas said it’s now been some time since they’ve seen Tera Chavez’s children.
They said what’s most important is for Tera Chavez’s two kids to know that she didn’t kill herself: “One day, [the kids] are going to be of age, and they’re going to want to know,” her father told Alibi. Her mother said she wants the kids to know that “She’d never leave them. She’d never leave them of her own will. She didn’t leave them.”