ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A mother whose baby died just days after fleeing from police with a five-month-old, was in court Wednesday. While Christina Bennett hasn’t been charged with the girl’s death, prosecutors pushed to keep her behind bars for the chase calling her a danger to society.
On April 15, the Albuquerque Police Department was called to the Circle K gas station in the Heights. Employees say they watched 31-year-old Bennett shoplift while holding her naked baby. “Whoever was working at the Circle K decided not to press charges, but the reason that they called was because they were so concerned with the child’s well-being,” said State prosecutor, Savannah Brandenburg.
As APD officers arrived and said Bennett took off in a red pickup, the five-month-old was still in her arms. When police tried to make contact with her, Bennett jumped in the vehicle and left and wouldn’t stop for them. They chased her briefly as she sped through red lights, but called off the pursuit, citing safety concerns for the public as well as the infant in Christina’s arms. Five days later, police looked for the 31-year-old at her ex’s house after getting a call that she was high with her five-month-old daughter again. They didn’t find her.
The next day, she showed up at her parent’s house in the Heights carrying the girl. The five-month-old was already dead. “When police showed up, the infant was deceased and the defendant would not give over her child, and was not compliant with police officers,” Brandenburg said.
Bennett was arrested for child abuse for the chase, for running from police, and was hit with a new charge for kicking an officer during that arrest. “The state is asking that the court find that the defendant is dangerous and there are no conditions of release that the court can impose to keep the community safe,” said Brandenburg.
District court judge Lucy Solimon agreed. The baby’s death is still under investigation. In the criminal complaint, an officer mentions he contacted the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department after the shoplifting and chase and that CYFD was familiar with the family. It’s not clear what CYFD’s involvement was with the family.