Prosecutors find evidence of child abuse nearly six months before child’s death

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

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)

A criminal information sheet recently filed by local prosecutors indicates the district attorney’s office has found enough evidence of child abuse of in a sheriff’s department report regarding August abuse allegations of 3-year-old Leland Valdez to proceed with criminal charges against his mother, Tabetha Van Holtz.

The problem is Leland died Jan. 26 and police say it was at the hands of Van Holtz and her boyfriend, Steven Gallegos.

That report of the August investigation didn’t get to the DAs office until after Valdez died. What the recent filings mean is if the report would have landed on a prosecutors desk in August when the first allegations came to light, there could have been criminal charges filed then before the boy’s January death.

No, this report not getting forwarded to the DA didn’t cause Leland’s death, but it was one in what seems to be many failures in the sad story of Leland Valdez, a Santa Fe County boy who seems to have been failed in many ways.

The recent court filings indicate the DA is accusing Van Holtz of three counts:

  1. Child abuse of Leland Valdez resulting in death on Jan. 24 (Leland died two days later in an Albuquerque hospital) … This charge mirrors what Van Holtz was charged with in January
  2. Child abuse of Leland Valdez on Aug. 2, 2010 … NEW COUNT filed by DA
  3. Child abuse of Leland’s older sister on Aug. 2, 2010 … NEW COUNT filed by DA

The criminal information sheet accuses Gallegos of:

  1. Child abuse of Leland Valdez resulting in death on Jan. 24 (Leland died two days later in an Albuquerque hospital) … This charge mirrors what Van Holtz was charged with in January
  2. Child abuse of Leland Valdez “on or between” Jan. 2 through Jan. 23 … NEW COUNT filed by DA

Here are some stories with a lot more info, including the top one that is being published in Thursday’s New Mexican:

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  1. […] Prosecutors find evidence of child abuse nearly six months before child’s death […]

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