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Severe child-abuse cases pile up in Albuquerque

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Another Albuquerque child is fighting for her life after alleged abuse.

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MILLER: Third person charged this week

The infant had surgery Tuesday for brain injuries, and her father is in jail, the third parent or caretaker in Albuquerque charged this week with child abuse resulting in great bodily harm.

Doctors performed emergency surgery on the 3-month-old girl Tuesday night because her brain was bleeding. The infant remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon, said Tasia Martinez, an Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman.

Police charged the father, Stefon Miller, 22, on Wednesday, according to a criminal complaint.

Jillian Dixon, the child’s mother, said her daughter is on life support and has had a blood transfusion. She said the child was doing better Thursday than she was Wednesday.

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MONTANO: Being held on a $100,000 bond

“The situation right now is really bad,” she said. She declined to talk more about the incident.

Miller called police to his home on Halter Drive SW at 6:50 p.m. Tuesday because the baby, identified in court documents as L.M., was unconscious and had trouble breathing. Miller first told police he was playfully tossing the infant in the air when she was injured.

She was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital, where doctors performed surgery. Medical staff told investigators that the child could not have suffered her head injuries because of a playful toss.

Dixon was not at home when the child was injured, according to court documents.

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POTTER: Not her first arrest for child abuse

On Wednesday, Miller told police he was moving to New Jersey that day and he agreed to a second interview before he moved, according to court documents.

In that interview, an APD detective wrote, “Stefon gave many explanations for the child’s head injuries. First, he said she may have hit her head in the bouncy chair. Then, he said her head hit the ceiling when he was playing with her by tossing her up in the air. Thereafter, he said he tossed her on the bed. Finally, he said she slid off the couch onto the tiled floor. Stefon also stated he shook her slightly to help her regain consciousness.”

During his final explanation of that day’s events, according to the criminal complaint, Miller admitted shaking the baby “side to side, out of frustration.” It does not explain why he was frustrated.

Miller is in the Metropolitan Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

There has been a wave of severe child abuse cases this week, and the Children, Youth and Families Department, along with APD, is investigating all three.

  • Ashley Antoinette Montano, 24, was booked into jail Monday in connection to a 2-year-old girl who suffered brain bleeding from a beating. She was the child’s caretaker while her mother is in jail on a charge of murder. The toddler also had surgery for bleeding on the brain, and is reported in stable condition. Montano is being held on a $100,000 bond.
  • Tessa Grace Potter, 30, was booked into jail Wednesday for allegedly beating and torturing her 4-year-old daughter repeatedly over the last six to eight weeks. The child suffered a fractured clavicle and cheekbone and cuts and bruises from being hit with a belt, according to court documents. Other alleged incidents included forcing hot sauce into the child’s mouth and making her stand in cold showers.

It was the second time Potter, whose bond is also $100,000, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse.

In 2008, police filed five felony child abuse charges against Potter. She pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors for failing to report child abuse and neglect. A judge dismissed the convictions after she completed probation, according to a state court website.

According to KOAT-TV, she slapped, kicked and endangered the lives of two other children.

In 2012, all charges were dismissed. Records show Potter completed the terms of her unsupervised probation, wiping away those offenses.

A CYFD spokeswoman said she could not reveal any details about previous cases.

The Journal has learned that CYFD has custody of the 4-year-old and possibly her sibling or siblings.

The recent abuse cases come on the heels of the deaths of two young victims. Nine-year-old Omaree Varela died in late December after being kicked by his mother, and there were at least nine referrals to CYFD regarding his family. In addition, an infant died in February after allegedly being raped and beaten by the mother’s boyfriend.

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