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Jeremiah Valencia’s mom indicted on 12 counts

SANTA FE — The mother of a teenage boy who was allegedly tortured and beaten to death in a home near Nambé in November was indicted this week on 12 counts relating to the boy’s death.

Tracy Ann Pena, 35, was indicted on one count of child abuse resulting in death, one count of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, three counts of tampering with evidence, six counts of conspiring to tamper with evidence and one count of obstructing the reporting or investigation of child abuse or neglect.

Pena’s boyfriend, Thomas Ferguson, 42, was indicted on 18 similar counts last month but is also charged with first-degree murder.


Tracy Ann Pena sits with her attorney Michael Rosenfield during a court hearing last month. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

According to court records filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Pena arrived home after getting released Nov. 26 and found her 13-year-old son Jeremiah dead inside the house. Ferguson, who deputies believe beat Jeremiah before putting him in a dog kennel to die, then forced his son, Jordan Nunez, 19, and Pena to help dispose of the body.

Investigators believe the three of them wrapped Jeremiah’s body in plastic, stuffed it into a plastic storage container and buried it just off N.M. 503 near Nambé. Detectives recovered the body in late January and confirmed Jeremiah’s identity through dental records.

Detectives believe Ferguson used a homemade spear, brass knuckles, a hammer and steel-toed boots to carry out unwarranted punishment and torture on Jeremiah. Ferguson also allegedly forced the boy to stay in a dog kennel with no food and water and would make him wear a diaper.

Ferguson faces life plus 168 years in prison.

Nunez has been charged in connection to the death in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, but prosecutors expect to take his case to a grand jury in the near future, court records say.