The Unsolved Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre

31 years after the murders, the killers are still free.

Josie Klakström


Las Cruces Bowl via New Mexico Police Department

Shortly after 8 am, on the 10th of February 1990, police received a call from a distressed child, who claimed she’d been shot in the head. The girl was one of seven who’d been attacked at Las Cruces Bowl that morning and the motive appeared to be money, but was that all?

That Saturday had started like any other. 34-year-old Stephanie Senac was at the bowling alley, getting ready for the busy day ahead, and her daughter Melissa Repass tagged along with her. The business was a family affair, while Stephanie managed the day to day running of the business, her father Ron owned the bowling alley.

12-year-old Melissa and her friend Amy Houser, 13, were working at the daycare facility in the bowling alley that day and were preparing the space. The alley’s chef, Ida, was in the kitchen, firing up the fryers and getting ready for the onslaught of children she’d be feeding.

A short time later, Steve Senac, Stephanie’s brother and Melissa’s uncle, arrived at the bowling alley to pick up a bag he’d left there. When he arrived, he saw that the front doors were open and that two men were walking through the car park from the back of the building. One was much older than the other and Steve saw them pass a small case between them.

Thinking nothing more of it, Steve grabbed his bag from the alley and dropped into Stephanie’s office, to tell her to keep the front doors locked before 9 am. He then left the building and continued his morning.

Melissa and Amy were already hungry and asked Stephanie for pocket change to buy snacks from the vending machines before customers started arriving. However, they never got to the machines as they were confronted by two men, standing in the open doorway of the bowling alley, holding guns.

One of the men took the girls into the manager’s office where a surprised Stephanie was working, and the other went to find Ida in the kitchen. He returned with the frightened chef, holding a .22 calibre pistol to her head, and the group were told to get on the ground.

Shortly after, Steve Teran showed up for work.



Josie Klakström

Josie is a freelance journo who writes about writing, true crime, culture and marketing.