NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state is pushing for the maximum sentence for a man who admitted to his role in the torture and death of a 13-year-old boy. Jordan Nunez pleaded guilty to child abuse for helping his father Thomas Ferguson beat Ferguson’s stepson to death in 2017, then bury his body off a highway in Nambe.

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Investigators learned the boy, Jeremiah Valencia, was subject to ongoing abuse at the hands of Ferguson and Nunez. Nunez who was 19 at the time, took a plea deal and faces 14 to 24 years in prison at his sentencing early next month. His attorneys say Nunez was himself a victim of Ferguson and was following his example, as well as living in fear.

Prosecutors say Nunez was a willing participant and had ample opportunities to report the abuse. They are pushing for the full 24 years. Ferguson committed suicide in jail before he could be tried. The boy’s mother, Tracy Pena, was sentenced to 12 years for doing nothing to stop the abuse.