TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man whose young son was found dead in the Rio Grande River days after the man was seen taking the boy to the riverbank has been arrested on charges including child abuse leading to death, authorities said.
New Mexico State Police announced the arrest of Shaquille Ferguson Sr. of Truth or Consequences in the death of 5-year-old Shaquille Ferguson Jr. on Friday.
State police have been investigating since June 18, when the boy’s grandmother came into the Truth or Consequences state police office saying she had not seen him in more than two weeks.
The woman told officers her son had taken the boy to the river and returned without him.
Investigators interviewed the father, and he told them his son was with a family member in Colorado, according to a state police statement. Police quickly learned that was not true and talked to the father again. The father then told police he had been swimming with his son when he drowned. He said he left him on the river bank.
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Police organized a search and found the little boy’s body about six miles downriver on June 19. The body was badly decomposed and was not identified until last week.
In the meantime, state police learned of a witness who reportedly saw the father tie up the son. That witness told investigators he saw Ferguson take a child matching the boy’s description to the river on June 12 and return a short time later without him.
Ferguson is being held in the county jail in Truth or Consequences. No court records that identify an attorney for him were available Friday evening.