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Missing boy was at home of grandparents

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 11-year-old boy who went missing after getting suspended from Jimmy Carter Middle School on Monday was found safe Wednesday morning and taken into the custody of the Children, Youth and Families Department.

The boy’s father, Jeremiah Baca, told the Journal that his son, Jeremiah Jojola-Baca, had been with his grandparents in Socorro.

Jojola-Baca was suspended for allegedly smoking marijuana on campus with five other students on Monday.

Baca said the school never notified him of the suspension. He had not heard from the boy since Monday morning before school, he said.

Two administrators were put on leave while Albuquerque Public School officials investigate whether they properly notified the students’ parents of the suspension.

APS sent a letter to parents at the school Wednesday that said it had placed the administrators on leave while the district investigates “alleged irregularities.” It did not elaborate about Monday’s suspension.

APS policy requires administrators to make contact with parents, or verify that students have contacted their parents. It is unclear what happened at the school on Monday, said APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta.

Jacqueline Costales, who works in APS central administration, is serving as the interim principal of Jimmy Carter for now.

Officials with the Children, Youth and Families Department had custody of the middle school student, a spokesman for CYFD confirmed. He said they are investigating the situation. Baca said he was on his way to meet with CYFD Wednesday afternoon.

Baca, who said he is the boy’s legal guardian, said he learned of his son’s whereabouts Wednesday morning and it’s a “mystery” how he got to Socorro.

“My main concern was getting him safe,” he said. “I want him to know and understand this isn’t the answer. This isn’t what we want. We don’t love him any less.”

Journal staff writer Patrick Lohmann contributed to this report.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal