Cowboy Down 

Murdered Arizona rancher Rob Krentz's family talk about his life and death

Thursday, Jun 10 2010

Page 6 of 6

An ATV zips by in the other direction on the dirt road. A big fellow in the four-wheeler has a dog on either side of him.

He waves at Sue, and she waves back.

"That's my brother-in-law Phil," Sue says. "He's got so much more to do now that Rob is gone."

click to flip through (9) PHOTOS BY PAUL RUBIN - Top: Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever, at the border near Naco, says that solving the Krentz murder is at the top of his agenda.
  • Top: Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever, at the border near Naco, says that solving the Krentz murder is at the top of his agenda.

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The cowboys now responsible for the day-to-day operation of Krentz Ranch are Phil, his son Ben, and Sue's son Frank.

It strikes Sue that she hasn't heard from Frank in a few hours.

"He's working today down near where Rob got shot," she says. "Stuff has to be done. But I get kind of crazy when he's out on the ranch and I don't hear from him for a while. I think he might be hurt, that somebody's done something to him."

Sue speaks of her continued faith in God, despite all that's happened to her and her family.

"I'm a Catholic, and I have to trust in what He has in store for all of us," she says. "But I am a little aggravated with my church right now."

She tells of attending a Sunday Mass with her sister, Dr. Lily Percell, in Phoenix a few weeks earlier.

The priest was sermonizing about Senate Bill 1070 and "how it's evil and [how] he picks up illegal aliens and takes them to safety, and how he supposes that makes him an illegal. I'm getting madder and madder, not because all aliens are evil people or even because I know that an illegal killed Rob. I'm mad because there's nothing coming out of his mouth that says anything about our rights, about what's happened to us, American citizens."

Sue says she and Lily walked out of the sermon and paced around the church parking lot.

Afterward, a lay pastor came out and tried to reason with the sisters.

"He told us that we all have our human dignity, that God looks at us all the same and all of that," Sue Krentz says. "I told him, 'What about my human dignity, hon? What about my husband's human dignity, getting shot in cold blood while he's out with his dog?"

She finishes with this: "I wonder what really happened out there with Rob that day. But, basically, I just wonder why."

Sheriff Larry Dever says there never has been a case in his 30-year police career that he's wanted solved more than Rob Krentz's murder.

His department's investigation continues, with the assistance of federal agencies that have more manpower and technology than are available to the financially strapped county.

"Let me put it like this," Dever says. "I have never seen one single event put such a huge exclamation to a movement, if you will, of people saying, 'Let's solve this illegal-immigration problem.'

"At one point, I thought it was very possible that we were going to see the killer tied to a fence somewhere on this side of the border dead with some incriminating evidence on him. But that hasn't happened.

"We obviously aren't rushing to judgment, and we are not going to arrest someone for the sake of arresting someone. We don't do that."

Sue Krentz reports that friends have gotten her a new dog, a "big Brazilian hound of some sort." She named him Bull and surely will come to love him.

But not a minute goes by, Sue says, that she doesn't picture Rob and Blue on their ATV, going out to do what they loved.

Rob and Blue were cremated.

"Rob told me at one point that if he died before me, he wanted his ashes spread down on the creek, a place he loved so much," Sue says. "I've got both Rob and Blue with me right now. But I'm just not ready to do that yet."

email paul.rubin@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8433.

Reach the writer at paul.rubin@newtimes.com

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