ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is now addressing her decision to charge the step father of 9-year-old Omaree Varela.
Steve Casaus is charged with six counts of child abuse, including one count of child abuse resulting in death in relation to the death of Omaree Varela. Omaree died in December 2013 after he was allegedly kicked to death by his mother, Synthia Varela Casaus.
The latest charges filed against Steve Casaus could put him in prison for life, if convicted.
While Synthia Varela Casaus was charged shortly after Omaree’s death, Brandenburg says it took a while to charge Casaus because he wasn’t initially thought to be involved in the beating that killed Omaree.
At a news conference Thursday, Brandenburg wouldn’t detail the evidence against Casaus or say if he allegedly directly beat the boy alongside Synthia Varela-Casaus.
However, Brandenburg believes there’s enough to prove that Casaus knew the abuse would cause Omaree’s death.
“I think this case is real important to the community because a little boy that was vulnerable and unable to help himself was killed and we need to see that that doesn’t happen again as best as we can,” said Brandenburg.
Casaus remains in custody at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center. He’s also facing several drug charges. Casaus could be arraigned on the new child abuse charges next week.