Dad: Abused 3-year-old Pojoaque boy ‘was joyful’

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Leland Valdez died Wednesday morning in an Albuquerque hospital after police believe he was abused by his mother and/or her boyfriend. The two are both in a Santa Fe jail. (Courtesy photo)

Three-year-old Leland Valdez loved basketball, playing with his older sister, Alysa, and just running around.

He died Wednesday morning at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque and his mother (Tabetha Van Holtz, 22) and her boyfriend (Steven Gallegos, 20) are in the Santa Fe County jail charged with child abuse.

The boy’s father, Andrew Valdez, 25, told me Wednesday morning of Leland:

“He was joyful. He was happy. He was always wanting to run around, play with his toy guns. And he loved to play basketball.”

Tabetha Van Holtz, left, and boyfriend Steven Gallegos are in jail charged with child abuse resulting in the death of 3-year-old Leland Valdez, Van Holtz's son. (photos courtest Santa Fe County jail)

Andrew Valdez has been at his son’s bedside since he learned of the abuse allegations from a CYFD employee Tuesday. He says past reports he filed with CYFD concerning possible abuse “led to nothing getting done” and investigators gave custody back to the boy’s mother when they couldn’t prove how bruises were obtained by the boy sometime last fall.

The bond set for Van Holtz and Gallegos is $500,000 and they were charged Monday after they brought Leland to Christus-St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe saying he fell off a kitchen chair and hit his head. Doctors there determined some injuries had been there much longer than what Van Holtz and Gallegos were alleging and police charged the pair.

The boy dying does not change the charge as the felony abuse charge already covers injuries “resulting in great bodily harm or death” and is already the highest abuse felony on the books.

Here is the story link to the article published Wednesday that I will be trying to update throughout the day:

  1. kristie jones says:

    Oh, no.

  2. David says:

    When stories like this happen, I bet you wish for the bleacher seat, reporting on things not quite life and death.

    i pray for you as you report on the dregs of the world.

  3. chargersd says:

    No child should ever suffer like little leland. Very sad. Hope that mom and boyfriend get what they deserve! The comfort that I feel is that little Leland is in a better place and not suffering anymore! my prayers are with the father and his extended family!

  4. Amanda says:

    this poor little soul.. had suffered so much in his short life… its so sad.. i hope these child killers rot in prison forever or suffer just like Leland did! KARMA will get them GOOD!

  5. Paul says:

    Tabetha and Steve, why? Leland trusted you to take care of him. You will suffer with this on your hands for the rest of your pitiful lives.

  6. alyssa says:

    i think that this was a trajic time for everyone who new this young boy and his family i know it affected more than half of pojoaque school everyone new his uncle and his cousin and his father your in our prayers an leland is in a better place with thelord know !

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