Video: New Mexico mystery

updated 3/29/2005 8:29:43 AM ET 2005-03-29T13:29:43

Police are trying to find out why a Gallup man was bound by the ankles, tied to a vehicle and dragged more than a mile early Easter morning, leaving a trail of blood and skin.

Fausto Arellano, 32, remained in critical condition late Monday at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Family and friends filled a waiting room and lined hallways at the hospital, wondering if the father of two would survive.

"He's always been a fighter. He's gotta fight this one," said friend Edna Garcia. "We're just out here guessing. We just sit here and pray."

Officers received a report early Sunday of an injured man in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. They arrived to find Arellano and a rope. Drag marks led back to Arellano's home, said Gallup police detective Erin Pablo.

Video: No hate crime seen Arellano has burns over 50 percent of his body and hasn't been able to talk to investigators, Pablo said.

No arrests have been made and a motive hasn't been established. Police believe the truck involved was red, had tinted windows and might have been a Dodge.

"Whoever was responsible for this definitely wanted to send a serious message," Gallup Police Chief Sylvester Stanley said. "We're hoping we're going to get some additional information. Hopefully, we can solve this thing real soon."

Stanley told NBC's "Today" Tuesday that "it would surprise me" if the incident were a hate crime.

Arellano and his two sons, ages 16 and 11, had been at a Gallup Lions Club on Saturday night for a birthday party. Police said Arellano returned to the club after he and his brother dropped the boys off at home. He helped the band take down its equipment, and a band member later took him home.

Arellano was described as a good father who had no known enemies.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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