SANTA FE — A 13-year-old boy who was brutally tortured and murdered last year, allegedly at the hands of his own mother and her boyfriend, had reached out to a family member via Facebook about the household abuse he endured, according to recently released police statement.
The search warrant affidavit also says that the boy’s mother, Tracy Ann Pena, told the female relative via Facebook that her son, Jeremiah Valencia, is a “manipulative liar” after the relative expressed concern over the well-being of Pena’s children.
Pena, Thomas Ferguson, 42, and Jordan Nunez, Ferguson’s 20-year-old biological son, were charged with several child abuse and other counts for allegedly torturing and killing Jeremiah and burying his body in a plastic container near N.M. 502 in November.
Other members of the household told police that Ferguson tortured Jeremiah over time with a homemade spear, brass knuckles, a heavy hammer and other implements to the point where Jeremiah needed a cane to get around. Ferguson also forced Jeremiah to stay in a dog kennel with no food and water and made him wear an adult diaper, court documents say.
Investigators believe Ferguson beat Jeremiah to death in November and forced Pena and Nunez to help dispose of the body. There is also evidence that Jeremiah was raped and burned.
A search warrant affidavit made public this week in state District Court says Jeremiah used Facebook to tell the female relative about the abuse that occurred in the house where the family lived near Nambé. The relative later used Facebook to tell Pena about Jeremiah’s message, but Pena “becomes upset, because she feels that (the woman) is intruding on her business,” the affidavit says.
At one point Pena tells the woman that “Jeremiah is a manipulative liar and that he tells lies and stories to get his way.” The affidavit says the relative ended the online conversation after Pena became hostile. It’s not clear when the exchange about Jeremiah took place.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office learned about Jeremiah’s death after Pena spoke about it in the Santa Fe County jail, where she was being housed in another matter, in January. Detectives later dug up Jeremiah’s remains and identified his body using dental records.
Ferguson hanged himself in the Santa Fe County jail in April, just days before he was supposed to be taken to state prison for violating his probation in a 2014 Santa Fe case where he pleaded guilty to beating and raping a woman over several days.
Jeremiah’s 13-year-old younger sister is now in foster care, according to court records.