Santa Fe jail responds after death of accused child killer


The Santa Fe jail is answering questioning about the death of accused child killer Thomas Ferguson. 

Ferguson was found hanging from a sheet in his Santa Fe County jail cell Friday night. 

Officials say Ferguson, who is charged with torturing and killing 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia at their home in Nambe, was housed in a special unit but not on suicide watch. 

Earlier this month, a judge found the charges filed against Ferguson for the boy’s death was a violation of his probation on a domestic violence case, and ordered he be sent to prison. 

Over the weekend, the Santa Fe District Attorney said Ferguson would have been taken to the Department of Corrections for that violation any day. 

“The order for him to go had been filed this week, and soon after… I couldn’t give you an exact date, but it would have been soon,” AG Marco Serna said. 

In a statement issued Monday, officials say the staff regularly participate in training to keep inmates from hurting themselves. 

Ferguson’s son, Jordan Nunez, and Jeremiah’s mother, Tracy Pena, are also charged in Jeremiah’s death for allowing the abuse to occur, helping dispose of the body, and covering up the crime. 

Official Statement From Santa Fe County: 

Santa Fe County Adult Facility screens approximately 8,000 inmates annually. Our Behavioral Health team addresses suicide prevention, along with other medical and behavioral health issues for inmates within our facility.  We have a licensed psychiatrist as well as other medical personnel with behavioral health training. Facility staff also regularly participates in training related to behavioral and physical health and keeping inmates safe and secure.   The facility has policies and procedures for assessing behavioral health needs, including preventing self-harm and keeping inmates safe. 
Despite the best of intentions and practices with respect to suicide prevention, occasionally an individual who decides to self-harm within a detention and correctional facility will commit self-harm.  This is an ongoing investigation, and there are questions that we cannot yet answer. When the investigation is complete, the county will release additional information. 

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