Woman pleads guilty in death of her son


POJOAQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Pojoaque woman has pleaded guilty for the death of her 3-year old son.

In 2011, 25-year-old Tabetha Van Holtz and her boyfriend claimed the boy was injured after he had fallen off a chair.

An autopsy revealed Leland Valdez had been beaten to death and there was also evidence of old injuries all over his body.

Van Holtz will be sentenced later this year.

Her boyfriend, Steven Gallegos, is scheduled to go on trial this summer.

Leland’s death prompted his biological father to sue the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department for wrongful death.

He said he reported the abuse five months before his son died.

A detective met with him and the boy but the case went nowhere.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff admitted mistakes were made.

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