Navajo weaver found dead in Colorado home 4-11-07

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) - A Navajo weaver known for her awardwinning rugs has been found shot dead in a home south of Cortez, the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department says.

The death of Anita Tsosie, 48, is being investigated as a homicide.

Deputies have been seeking her estranged husband, Herman Tsosie, 53, who was last seen driving a white four door pickup truck. Authorities said he is armed and dangerous.

``They have been having quite a battle in the divorce,'' Undersheriff Dave Hart said.

Anita Tsosie's mother found the body Monday and ran to the home of a neighbor, who called authorities, Hart said.

The message came through as a medical call. Medics and fire personnel responded to the scene.

An autopsy was scheduled on the shooting victim's body, the sheriff's department said.

Anita Tsosie, who grew up in Sweetwater, Ariz., and later moved to Cortez, was a third generation weaver, according to her Web site.

``For the types of rugs she made, she was the best in the world,'' said Bill Foutz, owner of a trading company with stores in Shiprock, N.M.; Kirtland, N.M., and Teec Nos Pos, Ariz.

Tsosie's weavings of sand paintings were finely detailed, he said.

``She didn't want to do them easy. She wanted to do the hardest,'' Foutz said. ``She was really good, really a neat person. The most talented weaver I've ever seen.''

Tsosie earned the best of show and other honors at the 2004 Santa Fe Indian Market and was recognized in 2006 for being the most innovative in her category. She also has earned first place honors at the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial over the years.

Tsosie said in a profile posted on the Santa Fe Indian Market Web site that weaving has been her way of life for more than two decades.

As a child in Sweetwater, she said she was inspired by her mother's stories about her grandmother's weaving skills.

``Passion was discovered when I wove my first rug, thinking this could be an interesting journey,'' Tsosie said in the profile. ``I love the challenges in creating circles, curves, angles patterns and getting the colors right in a sand painting rug.''