Friday’s 5 Facts, Top Morning Headlines

The 5 Facts You Need to Know:

  1. Get ready for more orange cones and barrels on I-40 near Carlisle. Crews will be setting up Friday for construction to start Friday night at 9 p.m. and runs through Monday. The New Mexico Department of Transportation says three lanes on I-40 in each direction from the Big-I to Carlisle will be closed. Construction was supposed to be completed last week, but was delayed because of rain.
  2. The mother of 9-year-old Omaree Varela says she will plead guilty to causing his death. This means there won’t be a trial, and she could face 40 years in prison. Prosecutors said Synthia Varela-Casaus kicked Omaree to death in December 2013. At the time, she claimed it was an accident. Since the boy’s death, KRQE News 13 has learned about the abuse he suffered in his short life.
  3. Friday will be partly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs will reach the mid-70s to lower 80s. Friday night is expected to be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the evening. Then, partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Lows in the upper 40s to mid-50s.
  4. Taxpayers are on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars after the office of former Secretary of State Diana Duran lost a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. In 2011, Duran claimed more than 100 foreign nationals illegally registered to vote and 37 actually voted. Her office is now admitting the list did not exist. Now, a judgement ordered Duran’s former office to pay the ACLU’s legal fees of more than $87,000.
  5. Time is running out for you to register to vote. To cast your ballot in New Mexico’s June 7th primary you must be registered to vote by May 10th. A new law is also allowing 17-year-olds to vote if they turn 18 by the general election. You can register online or at any MVD or county clerk’s office.

Top Morning Headlines:

The man charged with child abuse, accused of leaving his two-month old baby inside a hot car, remains locked up Friday morning. Two women heard the baby crying in a car at a parking lot on San Mateo and Zuni and called 911. Police say the boy was overheated and foaming at the mouth. The doors were unlocked so the good samaritans opened the SUV to cool him off and waited for help. According to police, the baby’s father, 32-year-old Isaac Chacon, was donating plasma. When he noticed the commotion outside, police say he yanked out the IV and ran to the scene. The baby was taken to UNM Hospital. He was hot, just under 102 degrees and dehydrated. His mom came and got him. Police say when Chacon was booked into MDC they found heroin on him. A judge set his bond at $10,000.

UNM is standing by its police department after a controversial rape case led to charges dropped and now a lawsuit. The lawsuit is being filed against the university by two UNM football players and a CNM student. Rape charges against players Saqwan Edwards and Crusoe Gongbay, and CNM student Ryan Ruff were dismissed in 2014. A UNM student told police the men raped her inside a BMW. Their attorney is now filing a lawsuit against UNM and its police department. The suit says police assumed the three men were guilty, then failed to interview witnesses or obtain evidence that would have cleared them. The students’ attorney claims the men have been turned down for jobs since the investigation. A spokesperson for UNM says the university has not received the lawsuit, but says it stands behind its police department.

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