APD disciplines 3 officers in Omaree Varela investigation

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Three more Albuquerque police officers have been disciplined for the Omaree Varela case.

One is in trouble for not doing enough to help the boy more than a year before he was kicked to death by his mother, Synthia Varela-Casaus.

An officer, a sergeant and a lieutenant have been suspended or reprimanded for cases involving the boy.

Officer Jennifer Jara has been suspended for five-days and must attend training in child abuse laws.

She responded to Omaree’s school, Hodgin elementary, in October 2012 when he told a teacher his mom hit him.

The boy had injuries to his face and hip.

When she got there Omaree was already talking to his mother and when she interviewed him he had changed his story.

According to a report, Jara stated she didn’t feel Omaree was safe with his mom but didn’t arrest her for child abuse and didn’t take the boy away from his mother.

She said a CYFD investigator didn’t find it necessary to place Omaree on a 48-hour hold.

Jara was suspended for not following up and not taking custody of the child.

Read: Officer Discipline Reports

Two supervisors were also disciplined; Lieutenant Natalie Sanchez was suspended for eight hours and Sergeant Bruce Werley received a letter of reprimand.

It’s not clear if they’re in trouble for the school incident or for an incident in June of 2013.

Officers Scott McMurrough and Gil Vigil responded to Omaree’s home after an accidental 911 call where you can hear Varela-Casaus and Omaree’s stepdad Steve Casaus berating the boy.

They didn’t listen to the 911 call before going to the home; they accepted the parents’ story and didn’t file a report before leaving.

Officer Vigil was fired last week and Officer McMurrough was suspended for seven days.

Police won’t say why officer vigil was fired but not officer McMurrough.

Omaree’s mother is charged with his death.

His stepdad has not been charged with anything related to this case but the DA says it’s still under investigation.

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