Officials: Remains of missing child found after Valencia County fire


VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The search for a child who was unaccounted for after a house fire erupted in Rio Communities Tuesday night is now over.

New Mexico State Police said it has found the remains of a “small child” in the rubble.

Crews began the search early Wednesday morning. Family members tell KRQE News 13 that the child was a 3-year-old girl. Dozens of friends and family waited all day as investigators combed through the rubble.

Neighbors said a woman, her mother and three kids lived in the home. They said two of the three children were home at the time of the fire. Family said neighbors helped rescue both women and one of the children, but couldn’t get to the toddler.

“It’s just so devastating,” Ashley Martinez said.

Martinez is the woman’s sister. She said a friend who lives down the street called her when the fire broke out.

“I called my sister and all I could hear was screaming,” she said. “I left work and got here as fast as I could.”

Martinez said her niece likes to do everything her mom did. She called her the “mom” of the house.

According to Martinez, both women were taken to the hospital but are expected to be okay. Martinez said the family lost everything in the fire.

“I have no words,” she said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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