PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – On the night of April 26, 2022, Portales Police were called to investigate an 8-year-old robbery suspect who ran away from home. Eventually, that led officers to the home of 53-year-old Sharman Eminger, mother of the 8-year-old suspect.

“I have checked everywhere in the house; including the attic, the garage, the backyard, the shed… everywhere,” said Eminger. Responding officers say the runaway incident wasn’t reported to the department. However, hoping to locate the 8-year-old, officers asked to enter the home.

“I’m going to ask that you allow us to go inside the house and assist to look for her,” said responding Portales Police Officer Matthew Veletta. Eminger was quick to speak up on why officers should not be allowed in. “You can’t. My house got flooded and all of my furniture there’s trash. I’m just concerned because of the mold and everything else that’s in there right now,” Eminger said.

After a back and forth, Eminger eventually let officers into her home and what once was an investigation of theft turned into a search for a missing kid… quickly turned to an investigation of abuse and neglect. “This is not from a flood, there’s [sic] mice running around in that trash. I’m standing there looking at it,” said Officer Veletta.

Upon further inspection, officers found feces all over the floor of the home and trash everywhere. Nine dogs were also discovered inside the home and officers say they were shocked at what the 8-year-old and her 10-year-old brother were living in. “Feces throughout the home, trash scattered throughout the home… on the floors, on the counters. I proceeded to look inside the refrigerator where I discovered little food that looked edible,” Officer Veletta said.

Officers also discovered soiled mattresses without sheets, exposed rusted springs, and black stains, but Eminger insists the unkempt and unhygienic living conditions weren’t her doing. “This is not how my house looks and because of her trauma response and his trauma response they’ve literally…This is how my whole house looks like right now because of my kids,” said Eminger. 

Officers eventually located the 8-year-old about two miles down the road. Due to the unlivable conditions, CYFD was called to take emergency custody of both children. Eminger faces nine charges of animal cruelty, one count of child abandonment, and another for child abuse. She has a preliminary hearing for these charges next month.