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Mummified body of Chicana author found in NM home

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm •  Published: May 13, 2013

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A 70-year-old woman whose mummified body was recently found in her Santa Fe apartment was identified as a Chicana activist, teacher and author.

Santa Fe police said the decomposed remains of Barbara Salinas-Norman were discovered last week and authorities say she may have been dead for more than a year.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports ( ) that Salinas-Norman founded and ran a publishing company called Pinata Publications in the office of her then-husband, Sam Norman, an Oakland lawyer. She began writing, illustrating and publishing her own books designed to help Mexican American children identify with their culture. She gave up teaching to write full time in 1983.

She was the author of "Los Tres Cerdos: Nacho, Tito and Miguel" — her version of "The Three Little Pigs." In the book, the third pig, Miguel, builds a home-made of adobe bricks. The illustrations depict New Mexico-style furnishings, Indian pottery, kiva fireplaces, vigas and retablos.

She also was a bilingual teacher in the Oakland, Calif., public schools in the 1980s.

Salinas' body was discovered by her brother-in-law, Louis Ponce, who said Friday that he had become concerned about her because he hadn't heard from her for a long time. He and his wife, Edna, Salinas' sister, decided to drive from their home in East Pasadena, Calif., to attend a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. A niece of Salinas was dancing at the event.

The couple drove to Santa Fe to check on Salinas and found her body lying in a filthy living room.

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