Questions remain over death of 1-month-old in Valencia County

Crime

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – How did a one-month-old end up back with his mother less than a week after she had a mental breakdown saying she didn’t want to hurt her children? That’s a question that’s being asked following the death of that child but so far, no one is answering it.

The one-month-old boy was found dead in his home on Monday after his mother, 30-year-old Kiria Milton called 911 saying she was “freaking out” and had a dead baby in her room. When detectives got there, they say they found her baby boy with heavy bruising on his facial area, temple and forehead and dried blood around his mouth.

They say it’s clear the child had been dead for several hours. They also found Milton’s four-year-old son hiding on his bed under the covers. Court documents note that deputies had been out to the home exactly one week earlier when Milton had her breakdown saying she, among other things, “didn’t feel right in the head.” It also notes that Kiria could be heard yelling at a child in the home by dispatchers and stated “she doesn’t want to hurt them.”

Deputies explained what happened from there. “The mother was admitted for some mental health assistance at UNMH and father was given custody of the children at that time. At that time, mom had been admitted into the hospital,” Lt. Rowland said. “When it falls with children, that falls on CYFD’s determination and recommendations as far as Valencia County Sheriff’s Office, we had no qualms at that time as a safety plan had been enacted children in which the children went under the care of the father.”

What was that safety plan? How was it being enforced? KRQE News 13 asked CYFD those questions. All that is known is that the dad was out of town for work according to deputies. KRQE News 13 also asked what they can say about their dealing with the family. CYFD responded with the following:

“It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the loss of life of a one-month-old infant. The Children, Youth and Families Department will proceed to protect the surviving sibling and support law enforcement’s investigation of the matter. We will continue to be diligent in our work to support surviving victims and protect vulnerable children and families.”

Charlie Moore-Pabst, CYFD

Valencia County lawmakers including State Senator Greg Baca and Representatives Kelly Fajardo and Alonzo Baldonado are pointing the finger at CYFD. They are calling the situation “unacceptable and infuriating” and a “critical failure in protecting the children pointing to “massive cracks” in the agency’s response.

Meanwhile, KRQE has been asking similar questions about the September death of a 12-year-old who overdose on fentanyl. The grandmother charged in the death had also been charged in 2020 for putting her grandkids in danger by allowing them access to drugs which automatically generates a case with CYFD.

KRQE asked CYFD months ago what their involvement in that case was and we were provided a very similar statement to the one in the Valencia County case saying they’re working with law enforcement but they noted they can’t by law provide further details until their investigation is complete. KRQE highlighted that law in the past, that only requires them to release information in child death cases.

KRQE is still waiting for information on some cases from years ago including that of James Dunklee killed in 2019. KRQE reached out again on Tuesday for the status of that investigation.

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