BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors supports the work of the NIA/NM’s Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance. Day-to-day operations are led by the Executive Director, who reports to the Board.
Gabino Venegas, Jr. – President/Vice President
Gabino is a Mexican American who has served as acting President of the Rio Grande Technology Foundation, reporting to Senator Dominici. His primary responsibility was working with start-up organizations, advising on communications, technology, and fund raising. Gabino retired from a career in International Business Development working in the Far East, Europe, the Middle East, Mexico and South America. In 1998, Gabino and his wife Barbara’s son, Gabino George Venegas, was killed in Albuquerque by a hit and run driver. The circumstances of the death are in question and suggest a possible cover-up. It is in honor of his son that Gabino offers his services to victims’ groups dealing with homicides.
Lisa Dillon – Secretary
Lisa is retired from UNM after 23 years. She worked as a training grant administrator for graduate and post-doctoral training programs in infectious disease research and in research lab administration for UNM School of Medicine. Her retirement plans included completing her degree from UNM and remaining active with the Eastridge Neighborhood Association for which she is currently serving as past-president and remains on the association board.
Areas of experience: administration — medical and office, numerous fund raising venues and grant preparation for scientific research. She has for several years hosted an annual fundraiser for the benefit of Albuquerque Animal Humane Association. She is also holds a current Notary Public license.
Donald Arquette – Treasurer and CFO
After earning a Master of Science degree in engineering, Don worked for 36 years in Albuquerque, NM, at Sandia National Laboratories. During some of those years he was involved in financial management of large programs. Since retirement in 1992, he has served several churches in governing positions including finance boards, treasurer and president. He became involved with NIA/NM and the Resource Center as a consequence of the still unsolved murder of his and his wife, Lois Duncan’s, daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, in Albuquerque in 1989. Don Arquette serves as our Treasurer and CFO – providing financial planning direction to the agency.
Annette Bartlett – Board Member
Annette is a retired Executive Assistant to the CEO of UNM Hospitals. She currently serves as a board member of the Tablazon Neighborhood Association in Tijeras, NM. Her areas of experience include administration, event management, community projects, and fund raising. She also has experience involving electronic communications. Her son Carey was murdered in Menlo Park, CA in November 2012 and his case is as yet unsolved.
Molly Barnes – Board Member
A 4th generation New Mexican, she has spent the majority of her life here in Albuquerque. She has been selling to businesses her entire career and is currently a Centurylink sales representative selling services to businesses.
After meeting Pat Caristo in a continuing ed class, she became interested in joining the board and helping out any way she can. She has extensive experience in networking and fundraising.
She is a single mother of two teenagers and they keep her busy and on her toes.
Herb Korff – Board Member
Herb spent his early years in commercial banking but most of his career has been in private and public accounting. In 2005 he retired from Public Service Company of New Mexico where he worked in corporate and tax accounting departments. He has served on various United Way workplace campaigns and served on a committee for Community Fund distribution.
Rickford R. Parker – Board Member
Rickford, a CPA located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a local tax preparer who assists with tax preparation, tax planning, bookkeeping, accounting services, estate and trust taxes and more. He volunteers his time to support this non-profit’s work.
Day-to-day operations are led by the Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors. Our Executive Director also serves as program coordinator for VOCA (federal Victim of Crime Act) funded activities and as a victim advocate. Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources and filling out paperwork.
Patricia A Caristo – Executive Director
Bringing years of experience in police and private investigation, teaching investigation courses, developing an investigator-apprentice training program working on cold case investigations at no charge to families, and volunteering many hours to victim advocacy agencies (NM Survivors of Homicide, Rape Crisis Center), it became possible to join with Victim Advocate Joan Shirley, and professional advisor Gabino Venegas to transform NIA/NM into the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death. Using the proceeds from the paid services of NIA/NM, grants, and donations and with the help of a volunteer Board of Directors, Pat was designated Executive Director and serves in that role to this date.
Joan Shirley – Certified Victims’ Advocate
Joan is the mother of Kevin Shirley, who, along with two friends, Matthew Hunt and Luis Garcia, was shot to death in the East mountains area in 1999. An arrest was made 7.5 years later and in trial in 2009; the killer was acquitted. Joan has worked with families of homicide since 2002.
Joan has been a nationally credentialed victim advocate through the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) since 2005. She served as a board member for the NM Crime Victims Reparation Commission from 2009 to 2015 and is a member of the NETWORK, a collaborative of victim support agencies, steering committee. She is a long-standing appointee for the NM Intimate Partner Domestic Violence Death Review Team, is currently the team chair and serves on their “Family and Friends” committee, which works with the victims’ families. She is the lead facilitator for the Greater Albuquerque Chapter of the Compassionate Friends; support program for parents and family members who have lost children of any age to any cause.
Aussy Levi – Victim Advocate
Aussy Levi brings more than 20 years of professional experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, government sector, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), research, contract management, program quality analysis, and is an expert in mediation and conflict analysis and resolution. Aussy is an accomplished negotiator, translator, and human rights activist and advocate. She earned her undergraduate degrees with honors from Denver University and obtained her Master’s in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nova Southeastern University in Southern Florida. Currently she is completing her JD.
Keith Blumenfeld – Client Services Facilitator
Keith Blumenfeld received his second bachelor’s degree from UNM, and has 8 years of experience working with database and personnel management, graphic design, and website management.
The Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death evolved from the pro-bono division of NIA/NM, a New Mexico investigations agency providing no-fee investigations to families of unsolved homicides. NIA also served as a resource to and volunteered with New Mexico Survivors of Homicide (NMSOH) from 1998 to 2008.
Changes at NMSOH and the Office of the Medical Examiner (OMI) led to a lack of non-governmental services for victims of homicide in NM. However, NIA continued to provide free services to at least forty families of unsolved murders. In 2011, Pat Caristo, of NIA and Joan Shirley, formerly the victim advocate for NMSOH, met to develop NIA into a full-resource center for victims in order to bridge the gaps in services. In 2012 we were awarded 501(c)(3) status and in May 2012 we received a grant from the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (NMCVRC). We began offering direct victim services in July 2012.