SANTA FE — A woman accused of taking part in the beating, torture and disposal of her own son has reached a plea deal with prosecutors, according to a court filing.
Tracy Ann Pena, 36, is facing 12 total counts of child abuse, tampering with evidence and conspiracy for the death of her 13-year-old son, Jeremiah Valencia.
Pena was released from a three-day stay the Santa Fe County jail last Nov. 26 and found Jeremiah dead at their house in Nambe. She then helped her boyfriend, Thomas Ferguson, and his son, Jordan Nunez, place Jeremiah’s body in a plastic storage container and bury it in a shallow grave off N.M. 503, according to court documents.
Pena originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in Santa Fe District Court in March, but a plea deal has been in the works since at least September. A request for a hearing filed in Santa Fe District Court Friday indicates that Pena has struck a deal.
“The parties have reached a plea agreement and have stipulated to requesting a change of plea,” Deputy District Attorney Todd Bullion wrote. A hearing is currently scheduled for Nov. 28, but attorneys are asking Judge Mathew Wilson to hold a hearing early next week.
District Attorney Marco Serna said he couldn’t provide any details ahead of a hearing. Pena’s lawyer, Michael Rosenfield, could not be reached for comment.
Prosecutors initially pegged Ferguson as the killer, but Nunez, 20, is now believed to have killed Jeremiah by repeatedly flipping over a dog cage Jeremiah was locked in. The boy allegedly had been routinely tortured by Ferguson, said to have used implements like a home-made spear and a heavy hammer. Ferguson, who was 42, killed himself in jail in April while Nunez is still awaiting trial.
Santa Fe County deputies began investigating Jeremiah’s death after Pena spoke about it while in the Santa Fe County jail on separate charges in January.