Bill would create ‘Child Abuse Homicide Review Team’

Lady Justice court room
Lady Justice court room

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the kind of law no one wants, but after too many high-profile murders of New Mexico kids, one lawmaker and the Attorney General believe New Mexico needs a special team to review cases of children killed by abuse.

The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, would create a massive team to scope out the facts of these cases — like Victoria Martens or Omaree Varela.

It would include law enforcement, CYFD representatives, judges and criminologists, to name a few.

The bill is in response to the horrific death of Victoria Martens. On Thursday during a press conference, Victoria’s godmother and family spokesperson Laura Bobbs said she believes if a system like this been in place, Victoria’s murder could have been prevented.

“These entities working together is going to be very instrumental in helping future cases so that it won’t happen again, or they get slipped or fall through the cracks,” Laura Bobbs, Victoria’s godmother, said.

The team would review cases like Victoria’s and the Omaree Varela case.

Sen. Padilla said this team would get rid of finger-pointing and politics in the wake of tragedy and get to the bottom of what could have been done differently.

“It’s not about an agency or department, it’s not about CYFD, it’s not about APD, APS, any of that,” he said. “It is solely about finding answers.

Answers like, where, if any, gaps exists in agency funding, staffing and jurisdiction.

The team would submit its findings to the state 60 days before the annual legislative session and make recommendations on how to prevent more child abuse deaths.

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