The El Llano home where police say a 17-month-old baby was beaten to death earlier this week has been set on fire.
Rio Arriba County sheriff’s and fire investigators say the blaze, which was reported early Friday, was intentionally set. Nobody was in the home at the time of the fire.
“It is definitely arson,” Jake Arnold, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s spokesman, said. “Without question, this was intentional.”
The home is located less than a mile north of Española Valley High School.
Edwardine Fernandez, 27, owns the home, according to Arnold, and is the godmother of BreAndra Peña, who died Tuesday due to blunt force trauma to the head. On Tuesday, police received a 911 call from Fernandez’s boyfriend, 24-year-old Nathan Montoya, indicating the girl had stopped breathing. Peña, whose parents were in Albuquerque, was visiting Fernandez and her boyfriend at the time of her death.
“We are following a specific lead that this may have been retaliation for (BreAndra’s) death,” Arnold said, adding that the retaliation could be in the form of trying to intimidate Fernandez from speaking to police.
BreAndra was pronounced dead before doctors at an Española hospital could try to save her life and Montoya has been charged with child abuse resulting in death and is being held in the Rio Arriba County jail.
Fernandez, who was not home at the time of the death and is not a suspect, according to police, has said she is no longer seeing Montoya.
While no humans were in the home when it was set on fire, police say Fernandez did have animals, although it was too early on Friday morning to determine whether any died in the blaze.
I’ll update the story when I can. For now, here are some related links: