Arrest made in 2019 death of 4-year-old boy

Crime

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police have made an arrest in the death of a 4-year-old boy.

On Tuesday, police arrested 26-year-old Zerrick Marquez in the death of James Dunklee on December 10. Police say Marquez, a friend of the boy’s mother, was caring for the child at the Cinnamon Tree Apartments.

They say Marquez called 911 saying the child was having a medical emergency and was unresponsive. Dunklee died on the way to the hospital.

For weeks, the family of James Dunklee has been waiting for answers. Marquez was arrested after police say an autopsy found the boy was beaten.

“I’m just glad they finally came to a conclusion to what may have happened,” said the grandfather of Dunklee, Kevin Nelson. Investigators say the boy had a long list of injuries including bruises all over his body and a skull fracture.

Marquez told police he tripped and fell knee-first on the boy while he slept. However, Marquez’s two-year-old daughter told investigators her father would jump on Dunklee too hard and police say Zerrick’s hand was bruised when they interviewed him.

“Why? He’s a grown man. What could a 4-year-old child do to him that could warrant this kind of response,” said Nelson.

Police say there were also text messages between Marquez and his wife that talked about the abuse. Marquez is charged with child abuse resulting in death.

He is expected to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon however, prosecutors are asking that he remain locked up so another hearing will have to be held.

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