ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Lapel camera released Thursday shows another run-in with law enforcement for Synthia Varela-Casaus, where both police and social workers couldn’t prove physical abuse. It comes a day after Albuquerque police revealed the state’s Children, Youth and Families department was called out for a second abuse investigation in a span of just two months.
On Dec. 24, 2012, Albuquerque police were called to a Cricket store on Menaul for a report a woman had hit her young son in the store. She was identified as Synthia Varela-Casaus and her son, Omaree Varela, was with her.
Police went to the home and interviewed the two separately. Omaree told officers he had not been hit by his mother. Investigating officers couldn’t find any injuries, and neither did responding paramedics.
Still, police called CYFD, which also didn’t substantiate any claims of abuse.
It’s the second time in as many months Omaree was referred to a CYFD investigator.
In October 2012, CYFD and police were called to Omaree’s school to check an injury to his face. Investigators did substantiate abuse claims then, but did not arrest Varela-Casaus and the boy was allowed to stay in his home.
By the end of December 2013, Omaree would be dead, allegedly kicked to death by his mother.
Shortly after, Gov. Susana Martinez told KRQE News 13 that CYFD had one case with the boy. Martinez explained the statement Thursday.
“I’ve known about the various cases. I think what’s important here is there’s only been one substantiated, and that was the case where the child was interviewed and he had bruises on his leg and on the temple on his head,” Martinez said.
There was an additional case involving Omaree that was never referred to CYFD. The 9-year-old boy was the target of verbal abuse during a June 2013 emergency call recording. The Albuquerque police officers who investigated that case didn’t file a report or contact CYFD.