ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Police say a baby’s life is hanging by a thread tonight. The person who was supposed to be taking of care of her is now facing charges. The baby is only four months old and police are trying to determine how long she was abused as well as who all was involved. The mother’s boyfriend is now charged for child rape, and abuse.
A warning, this case is disturbing – and we have chosen to not share all the details.
19-year-old Elijah Fernandez is accused of badly abusing the four-month-old baby girl.
Police responded to an apartment last night in northeast Albuquerque to a 9-11 call saying the baby was not breathing. Detectives say the baby was in Fernandez’s care and that he told police she had fallen from the bed, but first responders say they quickly realized that’s not what happened. Police say the child had a pulse, but doctors say she had bruises on her face, severe brain injury, and appeared to have suffered sexual assault. She was immediately rushed to the hospital.
Police say Fernandez told detectives he hit the baby in her face twice because he was stressed, and that her crying woke him up. He told detectives she lost consciousness the second time he hit her.
According to a criminal complaint another person who lives at the home told police Fernandez insisted he needed to leave and that he was in trouble. That person also told police Fernandez and the baby’s mother smoke spice. There is no word if he was on any illegal drugs last night.
Detectives are looking into whether anyone else at the home was involved in the abuse or knew about it. We’ve also learned medical staff had called the Children Youth and Families Department on the family in the past.
Neighbors have trouble processing what police allege went on right next door. “I have an 18-month-old son, and I just, it sickens me, you know, it makes me sick,” said one man.
Medical staff has referred the child to CYFD three times in the past, once for what CYFD officials said were low levels of THC in the baby’s system when she was born, and another for prescription meds impacting the mother’s ability to breast feed.
Officials said the third referral to CYFD was due to the mother cancelling a follow-up doctor appointment for the baby. At least one referral involved a two-year-old.
However, CYFD said there’s never been reference of physical or sexual abuse, adding, they’ve never dealt with Fernandez or known him to be a caregiver of any child in the home. They said they’re working with police in this case.
“I just hope she’s okay, I hope she makes it through, that’s really sad, poor little girl,” said one neighbor.
As Fernandez faces charges of child rape, and child abuse involving great bodily harm, people are pulling for the baby to survive.
A person living inside the apartment told police the baby’s mom and Fernandez smoke spice, although it’s unclear if Fernandez was using it Friday night.
Detectives are investigating every person inside the apartment. Police said they’re not sure at this point whether the baby will survive.
The mother claims she was at a relatives home doing laundry, when the 9-11 call was placed. As of 10 p.m. Saturday, police said the baby is still in critical condition with severe brain trauma.