Young mother faces charges in baby's death

Posted at: 01/04/2013 4:51 PM
Updated at: 01/04/2013 5:13 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Medical examiners say there’s no doubt an infant was brutally beaten to death.

And now her young mother is in jail accused of abusing her three days before Christmas.

Police arrested June Ortega Thursday night.

Medical examiners say her baby, not even one year old, suffered incredible abuse that was in no way an accident - a piece of evidence in this case is a screwdriver.

Ortega is charged with abusing her baby girl Nevaeh to the point she died.

It’s a case that’s shaken veteran police.

"Even as law enforcement professionals who see a lot of things on a daily basis, it's hard for us to grasp and understand," said Tasia Martinez, public information officer for the Albuquerque Police Department.

Officers were called to an apartment complex on Eagle Ranch Road NW on Dec. 21.

According to the criminal complaint, Ortega went to pick up her baby from her play pen when she noticed Nevaeh’s lips were purple.

Ortega came out of her apartment screaming and went over to her neighbor who is said to be a nurse.

But it was too late. Nevaeh died just eight days before her first birthday.

Police say Ortega shared the apartment with her boyfriend and a few other people.

A woman at the apartment says she doesn’t know her.

Neighbors are shocked.

"Can't imagine doing something like that to a little baby," said neighbor Jorge Valenzuela.

Court documents spell out horrific abuse including old injuries.

An autopsy found four skull fractures and hemorrhaging in the chest and stomach.

The doctor investigating believes the baby was hit several times with a hammer-like object.

A medical investigator noticed a screwdriver in the pocket of Nevaeh’s playpen, and said the handle could’ve caused the baby’s injuries.

"[Ortega] is the one and only primary caretaker for the child. That there are no other adults or family members that discipline or care for the child," said Martinez.

The department is also looking for June Ortega’s boyfriend, 18-year-old Emilio Torres who also goes by Emilio Marquez.

He has a warrant out for his arrest.

He is not being charged in this case.

June Ortega Criminal Complaint