James F Gossen: New Mexico Businessman’s 1988 Murder Still Unsolved

Published: Updated: 2 comments

In 2012, I wrote a series of posts on police corruption in New Mexico (they are no longer available). Recently, a woman named Myra Redman commented on one of those posts, saying the 1988 murder of her husband, James F. Gossen, remains unsolved. There are questionable matters regarding his case. I reached out to Myra and told her I would be happy to write a post on her husband’s case, and she agreed. Most of the information I received on this case came from Myra.

In 1988, James F. Gossen, 39, was a successful business owner who ran Albuquerque Diamond Brokers, a company that sold wholesale diamonds to jewelry stores and local jewelers. Around July 13, 1988, James disappeared without a trace. He was separated from his wife, Myra Redman, after she discovered he was having an affair with a woman named Brenda Coleman. Coleman worked in the same office complex as James. Myra moved out of their home at 5600 Planeta Court and into one of her friends’ houses. She sent their two children to Seattle to temporarily stay with family.

After failing to contact James regarding visitation with their children, Myra and a friend went to the home she once shared with James; the door was unlocked. They decided to walk into the house. There, they discovered James’ dog still inside, the carpet had been soiled, and James’ shoes were beside his bed. His car was parked in the garage, but the diamond broker was nowhere to be found.

Myra immediately reported James missing to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), who told her that James probably ran off with his girlfriend. However, she responded by saying it was out of character for James to leave the house unlocked and not respond to Myra’s calls or pages to his pager.

Alex Goldsmith writes, “Six months later, two rabbit hunters found his body in a shallow grave while hunting near Santa Fe. James was handcuffed, wrapped in a tarp, and had a wire hanger wrapped around his neck. His death certificate listed strangulation as his cause of death.”

About four months after James was found, Myra received a collect call from Brenda Coleman. Myra declined the call. Myra then called the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and spoke with the person in charge. This person claimed he went to Nebraska and talked to Coleman, who said she didn’t know anything about James’ murder, but she was afraid for her life. The person in charge did not elaborate on the matter any further.

Sometime after Myra’s call to NMSP, someone from Nebraska State Police (NSP) contacted her at work and said he wanted to show her some jewelry that James always wore (Myra had supplied pictures at the beginning of the investigation). The man said he was planning a visit to Albuquerque and would let her know when. She never heard from him again, so a few weeks later, Myra called NSP. She was told this man was no longer on the case, and someone new was assigned. Myra left a message but never heard back from this new person either.

Myra also contacted ATF agent Ed Verkin, a good friend, neighbor, and her son’s Godfather. He said he would try to get some answers for her, but he never got back to her, like the others.

At the time of James’ murder, one of his friends, Austin Magers, was arrested in Colorado on drug charges. Magers had traded large diamonds for large amounts of cocaine. It is speculated that this is connected with James’ murder. A letter from Littleton, CO, police that James received trying to get the diamonds back was confiscated in the Magers case. Myra had received a letter from DEA saying James was the target of an investigation, but it is unclear if this was the Magers case or a different one.

In 2000, a large diamond was found in Santa Fe by a janitor. Myra called NMSP and reminded them about Jim’s case and the fact that he wore large diamonds. She was told they could not find anything on the case.

Over the years following James’ murder, Myra has sent many letters to law enforcement agencies urging them to reopen James’ case. Most of the time, Myra did not hear back from them, even after they said they would be in touch. The ones who did contact her said there was nothing they could do.

In an email exchange between Major Scott Weaver of the NMSP and Myra’s son, Weaver denied that any jewelry of James’ was in NMSP’s possession, even though Myra was told early on that NMSP did, in fact, have some. He also pointed out that due to the statute of limitations at the time, there was nothing they could do.

Unfortunately the original investigator retired almost 14 years ago and there has never been any listing of jewelry in our possession. We have no documentation of any calls made to anyone regarding jewelry to be picked up. We would also like to provide closure on this to you and your family however, because of the statute of limitations under the previous law that has since been changed and lack of evidence, we are at a point where I wish we were not. Unfortunately we have considered this case closed until something or someone comes forward with information that allow us to reopen.

In 1988, the statute of limitations on murder was 15 years. However, in 1997, that provision was deleted. Regardless, law enforcement in New Mexico told many families of victims that the change did not affect cases before the 1997 ruling. This is no longer true.

Because capital felonies and first-degree violent felonies committed after July 1, 1982, were not time-barred as of the effective date of the 1997 amendment, we hold that the Legislature intended the 1997 amendment to apply to these crimes (New Mexico Supreme Court, 2010).

Therefore, if anyone is arrested for James’ murder, they will be prosecuted.

Myra recently hired the Final Notice Investigative Services Group to investigate James’ murder.

Something worth noting. In similar circumstances, a diamond broker was found dead in Denver, Colorado, on August 10, 1983, five years before James’ murder. William Olivero, 40, was found by his wife lying dead on the kitchen floor of their home. He had been tied up, beaten, stabbed, and strangled. Police believed robbery was the motive in that case, but it is eerily similar to James’.

Almost 28 years later, James’ case remains unsolved. Regardless, police closed the case for some unknown reason, according to correspondence between Myra and former Captain Scott Weaver. James’ case is listed as a cold case on New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety website.

A Facebook page, Justice for James F. Gossen, has been set up to bring awareness to James’ case. You can also follow her on Twitter.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

The first thing I wondered when reading about this case is why the hell law enforcement never followed up with Myra?  Why have they kept her in the dark over her HUSBAND’s case? Are they hiding something? Why was the case closed even though it’s unsolved? Weaver said, “closed,” not “cold case.”

Well, I would put nothing past APD or NMSP. Their history isn’t exactly sunshine and cupcakes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Both agencies are known for covering up crimes and/or participating in drug trafficking in the 80s.

When James was found, he had handcuffs on. Well, I would think that if this were a non-law enforcement person who killed him, he would have been bound with either rope or zip ties. The handcuffs make me think it could have been a cop. And because this is New Mexico we’re talking about, that is very likely and totally believable. 😉 I think that has a lot to do with why this case has not been solved and why it’s closed.

From what I understand, James started heavily using drugs when he hooked up with Coleman, who also did drugs.  A theory is that James was killed over drugs. This seems logical, especially for the time period. As stated above, drug trafficking was huge in Albuquerque during this time, but James was also a diamond broker, so it could have something to do with that as well.

The fact that James’ shoes were still in his house and not on him tells me that someone forced his way into the home, grabbed James, and dragged him out of his house without worrying about James having shoes on. Why? Did the killer or killers want James to show them where something was? Drugs or diamonds? Was this person or persons taking James to someone else who actually killed him?

I don’t have a lot of insight into this one, unfortunately, but I’m glad I wrote about it. We can’t forget James or his gruesome murder. He deserves justice. The more attention this gets, the better chance of someone coming forward with information.

Other Source:

Goldsmith, Alex. “Wife Still Looking For Answers In Albuquerque Diamond Broker’s Murder”. KRQE News 13. N.p., 2015. Web. 3 Feb. 2016.


Myra Redman February 26, 2016 - 1:18 PM

Thank you for the article, we finally got a meeting with APD and they gave us microfiche copies of anything involving James. He had two robbery reports one year before disappearing, one in Feb 1987 and another in June 1987. Both were at his office in Albuquerque and on a weekend, access to the building required a elevator code. Once on the 8th floor, access was gained through an adjacent office and the robbers climbed thru the ceiling into James’s office. Same MO for both robberies and James had a large safe in his office so it is possible that whoever kidnapped him was looking for the combo to the safe for another robbery. The police took fingerprints, footprint from a desk used to climb to the ceiling and questioned maintenance workers but said nothing matched. No workers said that they had given the codes out, but remember Brenda also had worked there and not sure if the building changed codes after the first robbery. There were several names listed in the report and some of the names, when searched by me, came back with murders, drugs etc. Brenda was confronted by James and she told him she knew who committed the robbery but if she talked they would kill her (this was in the report). Nothing came up in the report that APD followed up on what Brenda told Jim. James also requested that all maintenance employees take a polygraph test and one employee bolted, not sure if APD ever followed up with this guy. We are now meeting with NMSP on March 26th and will ask if they ever followed up with any of this. Thank you again

truecrimediva February 26, 2016 - 5:15 PM

You’re so welcome, Myra! It was my pleasure! Glad to hear about the meeting and I hope something comes from it. Good luck!


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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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