ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A grand jury has returned an indictment against Synthia Varela-Casaus, 38, who was arrested last month in connection with the death of her 9-year-old son, Omaree Varela.
The office of 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg on Wednesday announced that Varela-Casaus had been indicted for child abuse intentionally resulting in the death of a child under age 12; five counts of child abuse in connection with injuries discovered on the boy’s body during autopsy, including bruising, a burn on the chest, malnourishment, a laceration on the head and a bite mark; and for tampering with evidence for “cleaning her home with intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of herself.”
The case was presented to the grand jury on Tuesday. No date has been set for her formal arraignment on the charges in District Court.
Omaree Varela was found dead and cold to the touch when police were called to the home on the 4900 block of Comanche NE on the afternoon of Dec. 27. Varela-Casaus initially maintained that her son injured himself falling off a “bouncy horse.” She later allegedly admitted to repeatedly kicking the boy. Doctors examining his body at the hospital reported finding evidence of past injuries.
The boy and his family had at least two previous contacts with the Children, Youth and Families Department, and he had been placed with a caretaker family for a number of years. At the time of his death, CYFD says it did not have an open and active case file on him.