News & Politics

Murdered New Mexico Boy Spent Final Days in Dog Kennel

(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Children should be able to trust the adults in their lives. They should be able to know that their parents and anyone else in their parents’ lives can be trusted to protect them from harm.

Parents who harm their children deserve the worst punishment our system can deliver.

A murdered 13-year-old New Mexico boy’s body was recently found after a week-long search. Jeremiah Valencia suffered what the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department described as “the tragic and fatal fate of a teenage boy who was subjected to horrifying circumstances.”

The Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of three suspects in the murder:

On Monday, January 29, 2018, sheriff’s detectives arrested three suspects who were each charged with:

* Abuse of a child resulting in death;
* Tampering with evidence, and;.
* Conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence

The three individuals arrested by sheriff’s investigators, are Tracy Ann Pena, 35, Thomas Wayne Ferguson, 35, and Jordan Anthony Nunez, 19. These individuals are in jail and being held without bond.

Pena is Valencia’s mother. Ferguson is Pena’s boyfriend. Nunez is Ferguson’s son.

KTLA reported that Santa Fe Sheriff Robert Garcia fought back tears while saying “this poor child suffered at the hands of a monster.”

District Attorney Marco Serna said: “He was placed in a dog kennel for hours on end without food. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, these acts are senseless.”

The boy was reportedly missing for months before his body was found, yet his disappearance was never reported to authorities. Police became aware something was amiss when Pena was in jail on an unrelated charge. While there, she reportedly told her cellmate about her missing son, telling the other person the boy had been killed. The cellmate tipped off police, who began a search for the boy’s body. They found his remains buried in a shallow grave near a state road.

Nunez told investigators he witnessed his father hitting the boy, then taking him out behind the house. He also said all three then helped bury the body.

People talk about senseless crimes, but is anything more senseless than this one? This is a 13-year-old boy who was murdered because … well, it doesn’t matter why. I can’t comprehend the evil that does something like this. I just can’t.

As a parent, I would die to protect my children from harm. The idea that a mother allegedly allowed her child to be abused, then helped cover up his murder? I’m unable to comprehend this.