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Teen to be tried as adult in 9-year-old’s death

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

A teenage boy who is behind bars in the death and possible sexual assault of his 9-year-old cousin will be tried as an adult.

District Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Patrick said Wednesday that prosecutors will seek to detain 15-year-old Jeramiah Morfin until his trial during a hearing in District Court set for Friday morning.

Morfin is currently being held at the Juvenile Detention Center on an open count of murder and tampering with evidence in the girl’s slaying.

“As our investigation continues, other charges could come up,” Patrick said.

Police say Morfin led detectives to the girl’s unclothed body in an arroyo on Albuquerque’s West Side early Saturday.

The girl’s 11-year-old brother has since told them the girl had gone into Morfin’s room sometime that night and he later heard “pounding on the wall.” The brother and sister were spending the night with Morfin’s family.

Investigators say the body showed signs of blunt force trauma and possible sexual assault.

Authorities believe Morfin carried the body to the ditch.

Police executed a search warrant this week, taking DNA swabs from Morfin, along with articles of bedding, clothing and other items from the home.

Morfin’s mother, Selina Morfin, declined to comment for this story.

The Albuquerque Police Department has refused to identify the girl.

Police say Morfin’s mother called 911 around 3:30 a.m. Saturday after she noticed her niece was missing during the sleepover at her home in the 2200 block of Dry Gulch SW, near Unser and Blake.

The mother told police she noticed the girl was gone and the back door was open after she found Morfin, clad only in boxer shorts, cleaning his bedspread.

Police say the mother’s boyfriend asked Morfin if he knew where the girl was and he wrote a note saying he had “killed her.”

Detectives collected the note as evidence, and Morfin took them to the girl’s body before refusing to answer any further questions.

According to a search warrant filed in District Court, detectives spoke with the girl’s brother, who was sleeping in the next room.

The boy told detectives the girl went into Morfin’s room and, around 1 a.m., he heard movement on Morfin’s bed and “pounding on the wall.”

Police say they believe Morfin took the girl’s body to the arroyo “on foot,” as he did not have access to a vehicle.

The principal of Edward Gonzalez Elementary School, a school close to the Morfin’s neighborhood, sent a statement to parents about the 9-year-old girl’s death.

“It is with deep regret that we inform you about the recent loss of one of our students,” the principal wrote. “This tragic loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students.”