LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) –The Valencia County Sheriff’s Office has just released a phone call they made with a New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department caseworker shortly after the boy was killed, along with a video of their encounter with the family a week earlier. It sheds some light on the serious questions about CYFD’s involvement, or lack thereof before Kiria Milton is accused of murdering her baby.
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Detectives called CYFD on Monday morning, after finding the baby, Waylyn, dead in his home. Based on the call, it’s clear CYFD was unaware the kids were back in Milton’s care. In the three-minute phone call, detectives ask the CYFD caseworker if they had developed a safety plan for Milton and her family.
“No, not right now because mom is not in the household,” said the caseworker. CYFD explained to detectives they were waiting for Milton to be discharged from the hospital, unaware that Milton, who’d been admitted after a mental breakdown, had been released sometime in the past week. The caseworker says they’re hopeful the children’s father, Saint Padilla, will let them know when she’s discharged. However, Padilla had not alerted them, and Milton’s kids were back in her care even though they weren’t supposed to be.
One week prior to the death, Milton had called sheriff’s deputies for help, saying she didn’t feel right in the head and didn’t want to hurt her kids. Video from that day shows a deputy and a CYFD worker releasing the kids to Padilla. During that conversation with CYFD, Padilla admits his wife has mental health issues that he doesn’t understand.
In the past decade, Milton has racked up three domestic violence charges. In 2014, her former partner filed for full custody of her other two kids, claiming Milton is mentally unstable, refuses to take her medications, and does drugs, even saying one of their daughters was born with drugs in her system. The judge granted that order.
In 2017, Padilla filed for a temporary restraining order for him and his oldest son, saying Milton was violent when she drank. Padilla later decided he didn’t want her prosecuted, saying he and Milton were working things out.
Some are also asking why the sheriff’s office didn’t do more in this case. They point out a law that states a law enforcement officer must have evidence of an immediate threat to the child’s safety to enable them to take a child into custody, which they did the Monday before the baby’s death. They say it was CYFD that made the decision to return the children to their father, and they were responsible for checking in on them.
CYFD issued a generic statement on the case saying they mourn the loss of any child’s life and are prohibited by law from providing any additional details to protect the integrity of the investigation.
The governor was asked about the case during her announcement of new personnel staff and what the discussion is behind the scenes in her office and in CYFD. She started by expressing confidence in her new CYFD secretary and again stating the Children’s Code.