Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Mother arrested in teenage daughter’s death

A mother has been arrested and charged with reckless child abuse resulting in death after taking her 16-year-old daughter to University of New Mexico Hospital dead.

Authorities suspect the girl, who was blind and non-verbal, died from lack of medical care, inadequate supervision, living in a filthy environment, malnourishment and maltreatment.

Doraelia Loera Espinoza, 32 (MDC)

Doraelia Loera Espinoza, 32, was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Wednesday.

It’s unclear who her attorney will be. Espinoza’s husband told the Journal on Wednesday night that the accusations against her are a lie, insisting she took care of all of her children, and her disabled teenage daughter had always been small.

He said Espinoza called him right after she found out her daughter was dead.

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies were sent to the hospital to investigate Tuesday night.

According to a criminal complaint attached to a motion to keep Espinoza in jail while she awaits trial, the teenager — who is identified only as “ME” — was unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest when she arrived at UNMH. Detectives said she appeared to be much younger, was very skinny and had no fat or muscle.

The girl also had maggots in her body, which investigators said had been there for at least four days.

Espinoza told the nurse she had noticed her daughter was not acting right and put her in the shower to try to wake her up. Then, she said, when she didn’t respond she took her to the hospital.

Espinoza left UNMH but detectives found her at her South Valley apartment.

In an interview conducted in Spanish, Espinoza told detectives that ME was blind and non-verbal and had special needs. The girl had been attending a residential school for children with special needs in Alamogordo but was sent home at the beginning of the pandemic and remained in Albuquerque, doing classes online.

Espinoza told detectives she had four other children and her second oldest helped take care of the disabled girl while she was working. However she said right now she is in between jobs.

On Tuesday Espinoza had heard ME moaning as if she was in pain, according to the complaint. She said she tried to give her Pedialyte and put her in the shower and then took her to the hospital.

“While en route to UNMH, Doraelia said she noticed that ME stopped breathing,” the complaint states. “She attempted to wake her up and yelled at her to get a reaction but ME did not respond.”

When she got to the hospital, the doctors told her ME was dead.

“Doraelia failed to ensure ME was safe and left her in the care of her juvenile sister,” the detective wrote. “She also admitted that ME was her responsibility. She further admitted that ME had lost weight since the last time she had checked or seen her. Doraelia also gave conflicting statements about her activity throughout the week but admitted to being at the residence everyday and never checking on her.”

When detectives searched the house, they said it was filthy, covered in animal or human feces and smelled of urine.

Espinoza’s husband said her remaining children, the youngest of whom is about 3, are with their uncle.

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