ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – An Albuquerque mom accused of making her three daughters live in filth and keeping them out of school an alarming number of days.
It was Albuquerque Public Schools that sounded the alarm leading to child abuse charges for the mom.
A school counselor called the Albuquerque Police Department. When police went to the girls’ home, what they found was disturbing.
In metro court Tuesday, Michelle Garcia told Judge Sandra Engel she and her children have the same routine every morning.
“Yes, I take my kids to school, I take my kids before 9,” Garcia told the judge.
However, APS said that’s often not true.
“The allegations that the kids are missing school and now Ms. Garcia is missing her appointments. It’s a pattern and I don’t know how to fix that pattern,” said the prosecutor in court.
Garcia, who received a suspended sentence after she was caught in a stolen car two years ago, has been out on probation. She went off the grid for nearly 150 days, missing drug tests and meetings with her probation officer.
In court, it was revealed she tested positive for meth. She then told the judge she wants to change.
“I have an appointment with counseling because I am trying and get help,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s erratic behavior impacted how often her kids would get to school. A criminal complaint from September said her 12-year-old daughter wasn’t even enrolled in school a month into the school year. Her 7 and 10-year-old daughters had already missed a combined 20 days.
“We have to do our due diligence with the student and if we still aren’t having success, we might refer the student to juvenile probation,” said Kristine Meurer with APS Student, Family and Community Supports.
All those absences prompted an elementary school counselor to call police. In the complaint, the officer describe the home near Zuni and Louisiana as unclean and smelling of urine and animal feces. He also noted all the children had lice and there were cockroaches everywhere.
The family has a history with CYFD., but CYFD would not tell us what it’s done to help the children in the past.
Garcia was arrested in September and then released, then eventually regained custody of her kids. She was back in court Tuesday because of that failed drug test. She’s still behind bars Tuesday night.