A 13-year-old boy was reportedly raped, burned and beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jeremiah Valencia's body was dumped in a storage bin and was discovered two months after his death in late January.
"He was placed in a dog kennel for hours on end without food. It's absolutely heartbreaking," Santa Fe's District Attorney Marco Serna was quoted as saying by Metro. "I am sickened by this horrific tragedy. I will do everything in my power to seek justice for this innocent child," he added.
Valencia's mother's boyfriend named Thomas Ferguson, 42, has been charged with the murder. "I can honestly say that this poor child suffered at the hands of a monster," said Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia.
Valencia's mother Tracy Ann Pena, 35 and her boyfriend's son Jordan Nunez, 19, are also charged with child abuse which caused the 13-year-old's death. The two had even tampered with evidence.
Pena was in prison for another case when she told a fellow inmate that her son was murdered. After this revelation, a hunt for Valencia was carried out.
The 13-year-old's body was later found a few miles away from his home in Nambe in the north of Santa Fe. He was wearing an adult diaper.
The mother of the child revealed that she was forced to help her beau in moving the child's body. She kept mum about the matter as she was afraid of her partner.
Ferguson's 19-year-old son Nunez also came up with a similar story and revealed that he was also abused by his father when he was a child. Last week, a grand jury accused Ferguson of first-degree murder along with 17 more felony charges which include child abuse, kidnapping and fiddling with the evidence.
Nunez and Ferguson had cleaned the boy's body in a bathtub after his death, Valencia's sister revealed. She also told the investigators that she was forced to lie about the whereabouts of her brother. She had told people that the 13-year-old was staying with other family members.
The investigation found that blood not visible to naked eyes was present in Ferguson and Valencia's bedrooms, Metro revealed.
The court documents brought to light that the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department had also investigated Valencia's mother in 2011. The 13-year-old and his sister were living with their grandparents but they eventually started living with their mother again.