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Couple accused of child neglect in son’s death

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – A Santa Fe teenager died of cancer last week after his parents allegedly didn’t get him the life-saving medical care he needed, according to recently filed court documents.

His parents, Ramiro Miranda-Quinonez, 54, and Maria Urias-Astorga, 53, have been charged with child abuse resulting in death. They were arrested by the Santa Fe police Friday. Jail records show that as of Monday night, they were still in jail, each held on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

On Thursday, the boy, identified as “R.M.” in court records, was taken to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment of a severe form of cancer. The 14-year-old had a tumor so large that it took up nearly all of the left side of his torso, police said. He died that night.

The teenager was previously seen at the Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center emergency room on Sept. 7, but hospital staff in Santa Fe did not report R.M.’s condition to police, court documents say.

Hospital staff in Albuquerque notified police of potential abuse due to the cancer’s progression, as well as ligature marks seen on his ankles and wrists consistent with being “tied up.”

Doctors and nurses also reported finding scars and cuts covering his body. But an autopsy determined these were stretch marks caused by rapid weight loss.

The parents didn’t get the child medical care for the cancer over the past two years and the boy stopped being able to eat three weeks prior to his hospitalization, court documents say. The mother, Urias-Astorga, told police she hadn’t taken her son to the doctor in the past two years because they don’t have Medicaid.

Both the father and mother told police they would give R.M. “herbs” if he was sick, according to court documents. R.M.’s sister was questioned by police and told them her family “trusts nature, home remedies, herbs and vegetables.”

On his Facebook page, Miranda-Quinonez has posts written in Spanish voicing his disbelief of the World Health Organization concerning its COVID-19 protocols, along with posts saying masks are harmful.

Several of his COVID-19 and health-related posts were fact-checked by Facebook and are marked as being fake or containing partly false information.

Doctors said the cancer would have taken about six to 12 months to develop to the severe stage it had reached by the time of his death, according to court documents, adding that R.M. had no previous treatment for his cancer and that if he had received care earlier, he likely would have survived.

“He will die from this because his family didn’t bring him to care,” one doctor wrote, according to the court documents. “It’s hideous and atrocious. His mother has killed him.”

R.M.’s tumor was so large that doctors couldn’t do chest compressions on him because the tumor would crush his heart. The tumor also prevented breathing tubes from being inserted into R.M.’s lungs.

Medical staff said they were told that R.M. hadn’t been able to walk for several weeks, had been increasingly lethargic, was vomiting several times a day, losing weight and in respiratory distress.

He weighed 68 pounds when he was taken to the hospital.

“R.M. appeared to be in similar disposition to photographs of Nazi concentration camp survivors from World War II,” court documents said.

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