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New Mexico woman murders grandfather pretends he’s still alive at fictitious nursing home

Candy Jo Webb
Pictured, Candy Jo Webb New Mexico and her grandfather
Candy Jo Webb
Pictured, Candy Jo Webb New Mexico and her grandfather AJ Harden who was found dead at rubbish back yard.

Candy Jo Webb New Mexico woman accused of killing Fort Sumner grandfather after overdosing him so she could gain control of lake house. Pretended he was in fictitious nursing home.  

A New Mexico woman is alleged to have murdered her grandfather because she wanted his lake house investigators said. The woman’s arrest on Thursday follows her ‘pretending’ the missing man was still alive and living in a ‘fictitious’ nursing home.

The body of AJ Harden, 83, was found stuffed in a tool box dumped into a trash pit behind a Fort Sumner house on October 15. According to New Mexico State Police, the retrieved body could have conceivably been there since August -the same time Harden seemingly disappearing.  

Police spoke to Harden’s granddaughter, Candy Jo Webb, 27, of De Baca County after finding the body, who initially claimed her grandfather was at a nursing home in Texas. The woman later changed her story, giving the name of a retirement home police could not locate.

According to a complaint used to obtain an arrest warrant for Webb late last month, Webb had also told some people that her grandfather died in his sleep, KRQE reports. Then, she confessed to her current boyfriend, Garrett Beene, that she killed her grandfather by giving him Xanax and Ambien. Webb claimed her grandfather told her to do it.

The boyfriend told detectives Webb had been receiving money from Harden and that he believed she killed him to gain control of his lake house.

Candy Jo Webb New Mexico
Candy Jo Webb New Mexico murders grandfather, dumps body in backyard of home.

‘We would have never expected it,’

Harden’s body was found in a pit in the backyard of the house where Robyn Abeyta, a childhood friend of Webb’s, lives, and Webb herself had previously lived there. Investigators believe that was why she took Harden’s body there — she knew the landlord allowed people to dump trash there.

Abeyta said that Webb came to dump something in the pit in August and believes that was when she put the body there.

‘We would have never expected it,’ Abeyta said. ‘Even before they identified the body, she was panicking and she called me, but I still wouldn’t have suspected it to be her.’

Police said Harden’s body, with his distinct long hair, had black duct tape wrapped around his mouth and was wrapped in blankets inside the toolbox.

Webb was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office after having fled to Florida, where she’s being held pending extradition to New Mexico. The woman now faces first degree murder along with having been charged with tampering with evidence. 

According to an obituary, Harden grew up in Fort Sumner, served in the Navy, married, and became a truck driver. In his later years, he and his wife ran a hamburger stand.

‘An incredible man with a beautiful heart,’ friend Denise Beck wrote on her condolence page.

Court records indicate Webb is scheduled to attend a hearing for December 4.