Cowboy down: Rob Krentz's family talks about the life and death of the murdered Arizona rancher 

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"All we wanted was to be able to live in safety on our own land," his widow says. "We don't want anyone on our property who isn't invited — drug smugglers, Minutemen, anyone. I guess that was too much to ask."

Some details of what transpired on March 27 have emerged over time. But critical facts, including the most important one — the identity of Rob's murderer — have not.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever held a press conference in Bisbee on the Monday after Krentz's body was found.

The somber sheriff, who liked and respected Krentz, provided details of the case, with New Times adding others from additional sources:

Rob and Phil Krentz were working on different parts of the expansive ranch that Saturday morning.

Rob called Phil on a handheld radio (cell-phone service is spotty there) between 10 and 10:30.

Sheriff Dever tells New Times that Rob told Phil he had just seen an undocumented alien near a water well on the property. The alien appeared to be "in need of help," the sheriff recounts, and Rob asked his brother to contact Border Patrol.

Later, sheriff's investigators spoke with two ranchers who share a radio frequency with the Krentzes and other neighbors.

One of the ranchers, Fred Edington, said he was listening to the ranch radio when Rob called Phil about being out there "with one illegal or several illegals. He could not remember [how many] but remembers hearing [Rob] say an illegal was hurt and to contact Douglas Border Patrol."

Edington heard Phil respond that he couldn't hear Rob too well.

The second rancher listening in was Wendy Glenn, a lifelong Cochise County resident who lives on Malpai Ranch with her husband, Warner.

"There was no urgency in Rob's voice when he spoke with Phil," she tells New Times. "He said he had seen an illegal that looked like he might need help and that Phil should call Border Patrol. That kind of thing happens quite often here. That's right when he went missing."

The brothers were supposed to meet somewhere on the ranch about noon, but Rob didn't show and wasn't responding to Phil's repeated calls.

Phil Krentz notified other family members and friends, who cast out on their ATVs around Krentz Ranch, which covers about 65 square miles, an area about the size of Glendale, Arizona.

Time slipped away.

Dever tells New Times that he learned Rob was missing after a rancher called him at 6:15 p.m.

That is approximately when Frank Krentz called his mother in Phoenix.

The sheriff says he immediately contacted his agency's search-and-rescue team, which was training in the Cochise Stronghold area, about 90 minutes away.

Cochise County deployed six police cars and two ATVs to Krentz Ranch. The Border Patrol and other federal law enforcement agencies also responded.

It was dark by then.

Five long hours would pass before a pilot in an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted Rob Krentz's ATV south of Highway 80, still running and with its lights on.

Rob was the victim of a gunshot wound to his left side that, according to sheriff's officials, proved fatal within minutes.

His rifle and a pistol were tethered in a scabbard and holster on the ATV, unused.

Blue, his loyal 8-year-old heeler, was lying in the rear of the small vehicle, also shot. The dog was alive but mortally wounded.

The killer had about a 14-hour head start on the cops, plenty of time to get over the Mexican border, about eight miles south.

Following tire tracks, county investigators traced the ATV back about 300 yards to where Rob and the dog apparently had been shot.

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