Tyrus Toribio, 4 years old, black hair, Native American or …
Updated: Friday, 29 May 2009, 12:24 AM MDT
Published : Thursday, 28 May 2009, 8:16 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The back and forth continued Thursday over how Albuquerque police reacted when Tiffany Toribio sought help at a police substation in the hours before she allegedly murdered and buried her young son.
Toribio's attorney and police agree Toribio and her 3-year-old son Tyrus appeared at the Coronado Mall substation during the evening of May 12 and said there was a warrant out for her arrest on a traffic charge.
There also is agreement that the officer found no computer record of the warrant and that Toribio said she and her son had no place to go. After that the story gets murky.
Public defender Lee Hood now says the officer who turned Toribio away said she was being "overly dramatic." Toribio was looking for help and didn't get it, she added.
"When you are in trouble you go to the police." Hood said. "She told them that she and her son had nowhere to go and that she could not provide food and care for him.
"Our information is that officers gave her no information about phone numbers, pamphlets, where she could go for help.”
Hood declined to specify the source of her information.
Later that night at Alvarado Park Toribio smothered her son and buried him in the sand underneath playground equipment, according to court documents accusing her of first-degree murder and other crimes.
Hood first revealed Toribio's attempt to get arrested Wednesday when her client appeared in court to plead no-contest to failing to pay the fine from a 2008 traffic ticket, the case behind the arrest warrant.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said his officers offered assistance to Toribio which she refused before leaving the substation.
“We offered her all types of assistance for her or her child,” APD spokesman John Walsh said. If Toribio was in fact desperate that night she could have taken the help the officers offered, he added.
Schultz said the most important thing is punishing the person responsible for Ty Toribio's death.
“I’m a little frankly disgusted with the public defender's office for making these allegations and trying to deflect from the responsibility of Tiffany Toribio in this case," Schultz said. "She's responsible for the act that took place and the taking of her son's life.”
Hood said the police department's claim that she is only trying to shift blame is even more upsetting.
"That's a desperate move to walk into a police station in a mall and say, 'I have nowhere to go,'" Hood said.
In a news conference shortly after Toribio's arrest on May 20 Schultz quoted Toribio as saying she killed her son because she didn't want him to grow up with no one caring about him the way no one cared about her. Toribio had recently been ejected from her mother's house and a friend's apartment, according to police.
On Wednesday Hood said the police had a duty to contact the state Children, Youth and Families Department when confronted by a mother and child in dire straits. Walsh said no such legal duty exists.
A spokesperson for CYFD said Thursday the agency will not comment on whether police should or shouldn't have called them to the substation that night.