The mother of a Los Lunas toddler found dead in his crib could be facing charges if found negligent in leaving him in the care of a man with a criminal history.
A 2-year-old Valencia County boy spent nearly his entire life with a foster family, but he was returned to his birth mother a few months ago. Then on Monday, he was found murdered in his mother’s home.
VCSO deputies found Antonio Gurule dead in his crib on Monday. Investigators say he showed obvious signs of severe trauma to his chest and found blood throughout the home.
Not long ago, CYFD decided to give the boy’s birth mother, Barbara Gurule, a second chance.
“There’s a strong push I believe in the system overall, not just in New Mexico but nationwide, that is to find ways to keep families together,” said CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson.
CYFD says it was still paying visits to the home where the child was found dead, and Gurule had a completed a parental plan in place that they were comfortable with.
Jacobson says each parental plan is different and is dependent on why the child was originally taken from the home.
“It could be things like securing housing to make sure a parent has stable housing. It can be things like anger management classes, parenting classes, substance abuse treatment, as well is usually a part of that plan and substance abuse testing that could be a part of it,” said Jacobson.
Jacobson would not say why Antonio was originally taken from the home.
However, court records show Gurule has a history of drug arrests and was charged with child abuse in 2017 after allegedly exposing a child to meth.
Gurule is not charged with her son’s death. Investigators say she had left him in the care of the man she was living with, Jeffrey Moody.
In documents, Gurule describes Moody as a ‘father figure’ to Antonio, and says he treated her birth son ‘very good.’
However, court documents show Moody had also been arrested for drug possession and child abuse.
Moody claims the boy had an accident and fell, but doctors say his injuries tell a different story.
KRQE News 13 asked CYFD if household members are part of what’s considered before a child is released.
“That can be tricky because what I’ve learned a lot in this job is that people have very unconventional living situations,” Jacobson said. “But we certainly should be looking at household members.”
Jacobson said they will be reviewing this case, and all the dealings they had with Gurule and the boy to see if any mistakes were made or if anything could have been done differently.
Valencia County Sheriff’s investigators say the case is still being reviewed. It’s possible Gurule could face charges if they find she was negligent in leaving her child with Moody.