UNSOLVED: James Naswood — 11-8-2019


On Nov. 8, 2019, James Naswood was found dead in the front passenger seat of a red Pontiac Grand Am on Highway 602, between mile markers 19 and 20 in Red Rock, on the Navajo Nation. He had last been seen alive the previous day.

He had 30 stab wounds and cuts on his neck and chest and his wounds were clustered on the right side of his neck and on the left side of his chest, according to an autopsy report.

In July 2020, FBI agents received a search warrant for the DNA of Moses C. Jack, 57, of Red Rock, after his DNA was initially found on a beer can in the car Naswood was discovered in. As of December 2020, the FBI was still seeking information on Naswood’s killing, and offering $5,000 for information.

Jack does not appear to have ever been charged in relation to the case.

The incident

Photo of James Naswood
James Naswood

James Naswood, 48, of Red Rock, went missing from his house sometime on Nov. 7, 2019. His mother came home at 2 p.m. that day and noticed Naswood was gone, as was his red Pontiac Grand Am, Office of the Medical Investigator Field Investigator Summer Baker wrote in a deputy field investigation attached to the autopsy report.

“The red car didn’t have a battery or fuel,” Baker wrote. “So they’re unsure where he got a battery and gas.”

His mother called his daughters the following morning when he didn’t come home. The daughters drove around town, trying to find him the following day. They prepared to drive to Arizona to see if he was at the house of one of his sons but instead drove south on Highway 602, where they spotted his car, Baker wrote.

Naswood was in the passenger seat. The front windshield was broken and there was no damage to the car. A screw driver was sitting in his lap. Naswood had a bloody nose but “it’s unclear if he hit his head into the windshield,” Baker wrote.

It is unclear if the vehicle had a battery or if there was fuel in the gas tank.

Search warrant

Navajo Nation police officers and FBI agents were called to the car. They found the keys were in the ignition and a search of the southbound and northbound lanes turned up nothing of evidentiary value, FBI Agent Agent Justin Tennyson wrote in a search warrant affidavit.

Inside the car, a beer can was seized and swabs were taken from the driver’s-side interior door handle and from the gear shift, Tennyson wrote.

In June 2020, a swab from the beer can listed a hit for a man named Moses Jack, 57, who lives in Red Rock, about five miles north of where Naswood was found, Tennyson wrote.

Tennyson wrote in the search warrant affidavit that he wanted a swab from Jack to get his DNA.

“Based on my training, experience, and the facts set forth in this affidavit, I believe there is probable cause that violations of United States Co.de Title 18 §1153 – Offenses committed within Indian country and 1111 – Murder were committed by JACK,” Tennyson wrote.

Tennyson wrote that Jack had a criminal history.

“A review of JACK’s criminal history reveals several law enforcement contacts and arrests,” Tennyson wrote. “JACK has been convicted of the felonies of Driving while Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor. In 1987, JACK was arrested and indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Albuquerque, New Mexico after he was alleged to have beaten a victim, B.S, year of birth 1937, with a steel pipe and hammer on the head. JACK was convicted of beating, striking, or wounding in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. l 13(d), a lesser included offense of the crime that was charged in the indictment, Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.”

Online federal court records for New Mexico and Arizona show no entries for Jack, or for other permutations of his name. New Mexico state court records show he pleaded guilty in two separate cases to fourth-offense drunk driving in 2010. All state court records for criminal cases are for drunk driving. There are no arrest records for Jack in Arizona. As of December 2020, the FBI is still seeking and offering a reward for information on Naswood’s death.

Tennyson wrote that DNA evidence from Jack would “provide evidence that JACK did, within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, commit crimes in violation of United States Code Title 18 §1153 -Offenses committed within Indian country and 1111 – Murder.”

Tennyson wrote that in 2017, a person with the initials M.J. said Jack had been waving a gun around and threatened to harm her, and also waved around a machete and said he was going to chop up her and her wife and a machete was seized at that 2017 scene. Although he was arrested on charges of threatening a family member and disorderly conduct, its unclear what court they were filed in.

“In 2018, Crownpoint, New Mexico police officers were advised of a stabbing that JACK was alleged to have committed,” Tennyson wrote. “The victim, E.J, year of birth 1963, stated that he was stabbed in the neck with a pocket knife by JACK after a fight broke out between them because JACK was always beating his daughter up, which was E.J.’ s girlfriend.”

Several other police reports detail JACK threatening to hurt and/or kill other family members and law enforcement officers. This has caused a few of JACK’s family members to obtain Orders of Protection against JACK, which are currently in effect”

Again, no court documents appear federally at all for Jack and all state criminal cases are for drunk driving.

The swab from Jack was taken at 12 p.m., Aug. 3, 2020. Court documents do not state if Jack was in custody when the swab was taken.

As of December 2020, the FBI was still seeking information on Naswood’s killing, and offering $5,000 for information.

Autopsy report

Pathologist Karen Cline-Parhamovich and Pathology Fellow Ben Murie wrote in the autopsy report that Naswood had “sharp force injuries” to his neck and chest.

They found a total of 30 stab wounds or cuts on his neck and chest, they wrote.

“The majority of injuries were clustered on the right side of the neck and incised major blood vessels of the neck and surrounding soft tissues,” they wrote. “The majority of the chest stab wounds were clustered on the left chest which penetrated the left lung without causing blood in the left chest cavity. There were no wounds of the hands, forearms, or arms.”

A toxicology report showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.25.

See the case documents on Document Cloud.

Wheeler Cowperthwaite

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