Deputy Sheriff Ralph R. Higginbotham

Deputy Sheriff Ralph R. Higginbotham

Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office, New Mexico

End of Watch Friday, May 30, 1952

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Ralph R. Higginbotham

Deputy Sheriff Ralph Higginbotham was shot and killed while he and a town marshal stopped a speeding car at the intersection of US 85 and State Road 26 in Hatch.

Deputy Higginbotham and the Hatch Town Marshal were on routine patrol when a vehicle went speeding past them. The vehicle did not stop, and a pursuit ensued. When the car was stopped at an intersection, Deputy Higginbotham got out of the patrol car. The man opened fire on them with a .45 caliber handgun. Deputy Higginbotham and the marshal returned fire as the subject fled in his vehicle. The marshal was shot in the shoulder but drove Deputy Higginbotham to the Las Cruces Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries an hour later.

The suspect was apprehended by a small posse. On November 26, 1952, the suspect was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life. He was paroled in May of 1963.

Deputy Higginbotham was a United States Army World War II veteran. He was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, mother, and sister. His daughter and grandson also served in law enforcement.


  • Age 29
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Paroled in 1963

traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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I never knew you, but your service reflects the man. Rest easy, Grandpa, your daughter, my mother served as you did, and so am I. Rest easy; I have the watch.

Lieutenant Thomas J. Grundler
Santa Fe Police Department, NM

August 10, 2022

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