For Immediate Release
July 11, 2023
Silver City, NM – On June 26, at around 10 p.m., State Police officers were dispatched to Dragon Fly Trailhead near Arenas Valley in Grant County. Stephen Timmons was on a bike ride on the trail and had not returned home. His vehicle was located in the parking lot at the trailhead.
Search and Rescue teams located Mr. Timmons deceased on Tuesday, June 27, at around 3:30 a.m. During the examination of Mr. Timmons, The Office of the Medical Investigator located several gunshot wounds.
The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was contacted to take over the investigation. State Police agents began looking for a possible suspect in the murder.
On June 30, 2023, A U.S. Forest Service officer saw an individual, later identified as Joseph William Costello, 29, of Fort Bayard, NM run a red light on a motorized bicycle at the intersection of Ft. Bayard and Highway 180, almost resulting in a serious crash.
The officer detained Costello and he was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant for trespassing. During the arrest procedure, Costello was found to be in possession of a handgun.
Through continued investigation, NMSP Investigations Bureau agents learned that several individuals had encounters with Costello over the last year, and he allegedly threatened and shot at or near them in the area of the Dragon Fly Trail system. On July 3, 2023, the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed an Expedited Motion for Pretrial Detention Hearing, ensuring Costello remained incarcerated.
On July 7, 2023, State Police agents received the analysis report from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Forensic Laboratory matching the casings located at the homicide scene and projectiles found during the autopsy as having been fired from the handgun Costello had in his possession when he was arrested on June 30th.
Costello was charged with an open count of Murder and remains incarcerated at the Grant County Detention Center.
The New Mexico State Police continues to investigate the homicide of Stephen Timmons and is working closely with the District Attorney’s office and the DPS Forensic Laboratory. At the completion of this investigation, the case will be presented to the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for review.