NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The investigation into child abuse in a New Mexico home where people said children were chained to beds is growing. Now, a third woman has been arrested and there are allegations against the Texico Police Chief, accusing him of knowing what was going on.
Backed up sewage, no running water, and chains, kids living at a Texico residence admitted were used to keep them in their beds, led to the arrest of couple Jayme Kushman and Jaime Sena. All six kids living with them, ages 5-16-years-old, were removed from their home after a July visit from State Police and CYFD during a July home visit.
Now, a third woman is facing five felonies related to child abuse. Police arrested Lora Melancon after people came forward saying she also abused the kids while dating Kushman back in 2016.
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According to court documents, Melancon was involved in starving the kids, chaining them, and putting them in dog kennels. It’s an allegation lapel video from that July visit shows CYFD was aware of.
“They used to keep them in dog cages. We’ve taken these kids away before for being in dog cages,” the CYFD investigator tells a state police officer in the lapel video.
The court documents also allege Texico Police Chief Douglas Bowman may have helped keep Kushman out of trouble. Witnesses claim Chief Bowman was in Kushman’s ‘back pocket.’ They claim he saw dog cages at Kushman’s house but didn’t do anything about it and would give her a heads-up if CYFD was coming for a visit.
Bowman has not responded to KRQE’s request for comment. But in an interview with New Mexico State Police, he said he is not friends with Kushman and has only ever visited the home with CYFD.
He told police if he had ever seen anything suspicious he would’ve taken the kids away. “I will say it, I f**ked up, but I never saw anything there to do anything,” he told state police in an interview. Melancon is out on bond and is scheduled to be back in court on Thursday.
The kids living at the home were a neighbor, Sena’s children, and Kushman’s niece and nephew whom she had been granted guardianship of, and a boy from Texas court documents said she got guardianship of from CYFD.
KRQE asked why the kids were returned to the Texico home after being taken away:
“New Mexico Children’s Code, which protects the rights and privacy of New Mexico’s children and families, requires that the Department keep confidential specific case information about steps taken in any case, so we cannot comment on the specifics of this situation. The fact that CYFD cannot comment on case-specific information does not mean CYFD did not take action. Meantime, the children are currently safe.”CYFD Spokesperson