Mar 05, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Police Officer Who Was Determined to Solve the “Cattle Mutilation” Phenomenon

Thanks to the provisions of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, we know that back in the 1970s, the FBI briefly got involved in one of the strangest phenomena out there. I'm talking about cattle mutilations. It's a lesser known fact, however, that most of the mute material that came the FBI's way was supplied by a New Mexico-based police officer: Gabe Valdez. So, with that said, let's have a look at the files and theories of Valdez, himself. As Valdez's voluminous records showed, from the summer of 1975 to the early fall of 1978, no less than twenty-eight cattle mutilation incidents occurred in Rio Arriba County. One of the most bizarre events occurred in June 1976, as Valdez's files demonstrate: "Investigations around the area revealed that a suspected aircraft of some type had landed twice, leaving three pod marks positioned in a triangular shape. The diameter of each pod was 14 inches. Emanating from the two landings were smaller triangular shaped tripods 28 inches and 4 inches in diameter. Investigation at the scene showed that these small tripods had followed the cow for approximately 600 feet. Tracks of the cow showed where she had struggled and fallen. The small tripod tracks were all around the cow. Other evidence showed that grass around the tripods, as they followed the cow, had been scorched. Also a yellow oily substance was located in two places under the small tripods. This substance was submitted to the State Police Lab. The Lab was unable to detect the content of the substance."

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(Nick Redfern) Gabe Valdez and Nick Redfern in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The document from Valdez continued: "A sample of the substance was submitted to a private lab and they were unable to analyze the substance due to the fact that it disappeared or disintegrated. Skin samples were analyzed by the State Police Lab and the Medical Examiner’s Office. It was reported that the skin had been cut with a sharp instrument." Seventy-two hours later, Valdez liaised with Dr. Howard Burgess, of the New Mexico-based Sandia National Laboratories, with a view to having the area checked for radiation. It was a wise move. The radiation level was double that which could normally be expected. Valdez’s conclusions on this issue: "It is the opinion of this writer that radiation findings are deliberately being left at the scene to confuse investigators." The case was not over, however. Whatever, or whoever, was responsible for the mutilation made a return visit. Once again, we need to take a look at the official files on the affair. In Valdez's own, official words:  "There was also evidence that the tripod marks had returned and removed the left ear. Tripod marks were found over Mr. Gomez’s tire tracks of his original visit. The left ear was intact when Mr. Gomez first found the cow. The cow had a 3-month-old calf which has not been located since the incident. This appears strange since a small calf normally stays around the mother even though the cow is dead."

On the matter of whether or not the mutilations were the work of cults or natural predators, Valdez said: "Both have been ruled out due to expertise and preciseness and the cost involved to conduct such a sophisticated and secretive operation. It should also be noted that during the spring of 1974 when a tremendous amount of cattle were lost due to heavy snowfalls, the carcasses had been eaten by predators. These carcasses did not resemble the carcasses of the mutilated cows. Investigation has narrowed down to these theories which involve (1) Experimental use of Vitamin B12 and (2) The testing of the lymph node system. During this investigation an intensive study has been made of (3) What is involved in germ warfare testing, and the possible correlation of these 3 factors (germ warfare testing, use of Vitamin B12, testing of the lymph node system)." A further, very strange, report can be found in Valdez’s files, from 1978:

"This four year old cross Hereford and Black Angus native cow was found lying on left side with rectum, sex organs, tongue, and ears removed. Pinkish blood from [illegible] was visible, and after two days the blood still had not coagulated. Left front and left rear leg were pulled out of their sockets apparently from the weight of the cow which indicates that it was lifted and dropped back to the ground. The ground around and under the cow was soft and showed indentations where the cow had been dropped. 600 yards away from the cow were the 4-inch circular indentations similar to the ones found at the Manuel Gomez ranch on 4-24-78. This cow had been dead approximately [illegible] hours and was too decomposed to extract samples. This is the first in a series of mutilations in which the cows' legs are broken. Previously the animals had been lifted from the brisket with a strap. These mutilated animals all dehydrate rapidly (in one or two days)."

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(Nick Redfern) Strangers in the Night

As the summer of 1978 progressed, so did the number of reports where elevated radiation readings were found, as Valdez noted in his records: "It is believed that this type of radiation is not harmful to humans, although approximately 7 people who visited the mutilation site complained of nausea and headaches. However, this writer has had no such symptoms after checking approximately 11 mutilations in the past 4 months. Identical mutilations have been taking place all over the Southwest. It is strange that no eye witnesses have come forward or that no accidents [have] occurred. One has to admit that whoever is responsible for the mutilations is very well organized with boundless financing and secrecy. Writer is presently getting equipment through the efforts of Mr. Howard Burgess, Albuquerque, N.M. to detect substances on the cattle which might mark them and be picked up by infra-red rays but not visible to the naked eye."

A lengthy document, prepared by Forrest S. Putman, the FBI's Special-Agent-in-Charge at Albuquerque, New Mexico was soon thereafter sent to the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. It read: "Information furnished to this office by Officer Valdez indicates that the animals are being shot with some type of paralyzing drug and the blood is being drawn from the animal after an injection of an anti-coagulant. It appears that in some instances the cattle’s legs have been broken and helicopters without any identifying numbers have reportedly been seen in the vicinity of these mutilations. Officer Valdez theorizes that clamps are being placed on the cow’s legs and they are being lifted by helicopter to some remote area where the mutilations are taking place and then the animal is returned to its original pasture. The mutilations primarily consist of removal of the tongue, the lymph gland, lower lip and the sexual organs of the animal. Much mystery has surrounded these mutilations, but according to witnesses they give the appearance of being very professionally done with a surgical instrument, and according to Valdez, as the years progress, each surgical procedure appears to be more professional."

Nick Redfern) As Valdez's files reveal, he made a connection between the mutes and black helicopters

The documentation continues: "Officer Valdez has advised that in no instance, to his knowledge, are these carcasses ever attacked by predator or scavenger animals, although there are tracks which would indicate that coyotes have been circling the carcass from a distance. Special Agent Putman then informed the Director of the outcome of Valdez’s run-ins with officials. He also advised that he has requested Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory to conduct investigation for him but until just recently has always been advised that the mutilations were done by predatory animals. Officer Valdez stated that just recently he has been told by two assistants at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory that they were able to determine the type of tranquilizer and blood anti-coagulant that have been utilized." Putnam then demonstrated to headquarters the astonishing scale of the mutilation puzzle:

"Officer Valdez stated that Colorado probably has the most mutilations occurring within their State and that over the past four years approximately 30 have occurred in New Mexico. He stated that of these 330, 15 have occurred on Indian Reservations but he did know that many mutilations have gone unreported which have occurred on the Indian reservations because the Indians, particularly in the Pueblos, are extremely superstitious and will not even allow officers in to investigate in some instances. Officer Valdez stated since the outset of these mutilations there have been an estimated 8,000 animals mutilated which would place the loss at approximately $1,000,000." Without doubt a huge, and widespread phenomenon - and much of it studied and investigated by Police Officer Gabe Valdez.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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