SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia said they had a bad feeling the last time they heard from him back in July, but explained why they couldn’t save him from his mother’s boyfriend who is accused of killing him.
“We’re burying a child, an innocent child,” Samantha Valencia said. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Sunday, investigators found the body of the 13-year-old buried alongside State Road 503 near Nambe.
The boy’s mother Tracy Pena, her boyfriend, Thomas Ferguson, and his 19-year-old son Jordan Nunez, are all charged with the murder that deputies believe happened sometime in November.
Jeremiah’s aunts on his father’s side said the last time they heard from the teen was in July. Samantha said Jeremiah wanted her to pick him up, but said Pena kept them away.
“She was in and out of jail and in and out of houses. So we knew it wasn’t good,” Samantha said.
Samantha and Jeremiah’s other aunt, Frances Romero, said they also didn’t know the family was living in Nambe. It’s where deputies said Ferguson would beat Jeremiah and lock him inside a kennel.
As Samantha and Frances looked through a handful of photos of Jeremiah from when he was a baby, all they could do was mimic the smile they said he always had.
“He was always smiling,” Samantha said. “He was a crazy little boy. He was a handful, that’s for sure.”
Now, the two hope prosecutors will bring their nephew justice.
Jeremiah’s aunts tell KRQE News 13 his biological father is in prison. Jeremiah’s 13-year-old sister, who was also living in the home, is now in CYFD custody.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account.