ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The case against the Albuquerque mom accused of kicking 9-year-old Omaree Varela to death has been put on hold.
Synthia Varela-Casaus, who has been behind bars at the Metropolitan Detention Center since December 2013, is set to be moved to the State Mental Hospital in Las Vegas according to her civil attorney Anthony Ayala.
Ayala says an evaluation found Varela-Casaus not competent to stand trial on first degree child abuse charges. That trial was set to start in October.
According to an order signed by Judge Brett Loveless on Friday, the case is on hold while Varela-Casaus is evaluated further and her competency can be fully determined. Defendants are required to be able to understand the charges against them and assist in their own defense to be considered mentally competent to stand trial.
If Varela-Casaus is found incompetent to stand trial, that doesn’t mean she would go free. A judge could determine Varela-Casaus is dangerous and have her committed until she becomes competent to stand trial.
Varela-Casaus’ attorney Todd Farkas declined to comment on the case when reached by phone. A spokesperson for the DA’s office confirmed the issue of competency had been raised in the case, but didn’t comment further citing privacy rules.
Meanwhile, Omaree’s stepdad Stephen Casaus remains behind bars at MDC on several pending charges, including child abuse.