ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman is on life support and not expected to survive after she was allegedly beaten by her husband. Bernalillo County deputies had responded to a domestic violence call at the couple’s home just days before, so did they miss the red flags? When deputies responded to the South Valley home last weekend, they questioned the couple, separated them for the evening, and left. Days later, 42-year-old Kristy Rivera was brain dead, and her husband was charged with murder.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies said 54-year-old Jerome Gutierrez admitted to beating his wife of ten years, which doctors said left her brain dead. Court documents state last Saturday, deputies responded to a domestic violence call at the couple’s South Valley home. Rivera told deputies Gutierrez slapped and hit her after an argument, then pulled a gun on her. Deputies noted that Rivera could not make eye contact and had slow and slurred responses.
However, since deputies did not see any physical evidence and Gutierrez denied the claims, deputies did not arrest him. Jessie Fierro with the Domestic Violence Resource Center said that is not enough. “There are many things that can happen without showing outward injury,” Fierro said.
Then two days later, Gutierrez called 911 claiming Rivera had fallen in the bathroom and was unconscious. She was taken to UNM Hospital, but doctors there did not believe Gutierrez’s story. Doctors said Rivera’s injuries were commonly seen in high-velocity impacts like car accidents, ATV crashes, or blunt force trauma. Doctors said Rivera’s injuries were inconsistent with just falling and hitting your head. Deputies confronted Gutierrez who eventually admitted to abusing Rivera.
Gutierrez told deputies he pushed her, slammed her head into the wall, grabbed her by the throat, shook her, and fell on top of her on their front porch Saturday, the night deputies did not arrest him. It all happened in front of their five-year-old daughter.
Fierro said this is why victim advocates should be called out to every domestic violence scene to assist. “We see domestic violence numbers climbing,” Fierro said. “We should be seeing a huge uptick in our call-outs to the field. Unfortunately, we are not. I don’t know if it is because officers are pressured or pressed to get to another call.”
Fierro said comparing 2019 to 2021, they have seen a 100 percent increase month to month in victims calling their resource center. Fierro said she is reaching out to all police departments to see how they can help. Fierro had a meeting with BCSO Friday on how they can work together better.
BCSO declined an interview for this story. Rivera was the owner and manager of Edible Arrangements on the westside.