ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The back and forth continued Thursday over how Albuquerquepolice reacted when Tiffany Toribio sought help at a policesubstation in the hours before she allegedly murdered and buriedher young son.
Toribio's attorney and police agree Toribio and her 3-year-oldson Tyrus appeared at the Coronado Mall substation during theevening of May 12 and said there was a warrant out for her arreston a traffic charge.
There also is agreement that the officer found no computerrecord of the warrant and that Toribio said she and her son had noplace to go. After that the story gets murky.
Public defender Lee Hood now says the officer who turned Toribioaway said she was being "overly dramatic." Toribio was looking forhelp and didn't get it, she added.
"When you are in trouble you go to the police." Hood said. "Shetold them that she and her son had nowhere to go and that she couldnot provide food and care for him.
"Our information is that officers gave her no information aboutphone 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 andburied him in the sand underneath playground equipment, accordingto court documents accusing her of first-degree murder and othercrimes.
Hood first revealed Toribio's attempt to get arrested Wednesdaywhen her client appeared in court to plead no-contest to failing topay the fine from a 2008 traffic ticket, the case behind the arrestwarrant.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said hisofficers offered assistance to Toribio which she refused beforeleaving the substation.
“We offered her all types of assistance for her or herchild,” APD spokesman John Walsh said. If Toribio was in factdesperate that night she could have taken the help the officersoffered, he added.
Schultz said the most important thing is punishing the personresponsible for Ty Toribio's death.
“I’m a little frankly disgusted with the publicdefender's office for making these allegations and trying todeflect from the responsibility of Tiffany Toribio in this case,"Schultz said. "She's responsible for the act that took place andthe taking of her son's life.”
Hood said the police department's claim that she is only tryingto shift blame is even more upsetting.
"That's a desperate move to walk into a police station in a malland say, 'I have nowhere to go,'" Hood said.
In a news conference shortly after Toribio's arrest on May 20Schultz quoted Toribio as saying she killed her son because shedidn't want him to grow up with no one caring about him the way noone cared about her. Toribio had recently been ejected from hermother's house and a friend's apartment, according to police.
On Wednesday Hood said the police had a duty to contact thestate Children, Youth and Families Department when confronted by amother and child in dire straits. Walsh said no such legal dutyexists.
A spokesperson for CYFD said Thursday the agency will notcomment on whether police should or shouldn't have called them tothe substation that night.
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