ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman is accused of taking part in the abuse of a four-year-old child. She took a plea deal on Tuesday.

Pamela Esparza pleaded guilty to abandonment of a child resulting in death, failure to report child abuse, and child abuse charges.

Esparza was housing four-year-old James Dunklee and his mother Krista Cruz in 2019. Her boyfriend, Zerrick Marquez, was sentenced for beating Dunklee to death at his home.

Esparza told police before Dunklee’s death the bruises on his body were caused by her two-year-old daughter.

A lawsuit related to the case claims the Children, Youth, and Families Dept. destroyed evidence and forced caseworkers to hide how they handled the case.

A sentencing date for Esparza has not yet been set, but she is facing up to 18 years in prison.