Wrongful Death Suit Against NM Sheriff's Office

Jan 29, 2013

A lawsuit filed against the Santa Fe County sheriff and a deputy says a 3-year-old boy's death was foreseeable because the office received prior complaints against the boy's mother and her boyfriend.

The wrongful-death suit filed Friday by Andrew Valdez in the death of his son contends the sheriff's office failed to investigate abuse reports against Tabetha Van Holtz and Steven Gallegos before the boy died.

Van Holtz and Gallegos await trial on charges that they fatally beat Leland Valdez in 2011.

Sheriff Robert Garcia was undersheriff at the time.

Garcia says he stands by his past statements that the office should have done more.

The sheriff also says it was wrong that the deputy didn't submit a report on the prior allegations until months after the boy died.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.