Gallup Sun

Monday, Dec 16th

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Who’s watching the children?

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Gallup Police Officer Richard Rangel III was dispatched to 201 J. M Montoya Blvd.  at 9:20 pm in reference to a possible domestic dispute.

When he arrived he saw three people by a white GMC truck.  He said the male and the small female were pulling on each other. While he parked, he saw the woman run off and the male run behind a trash can, leaving a 13-year-old  girl alone in the middle of the parking lot.  He told the male to come out, and saw that he had a cut on the right side of his head.  He had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on his breath, slurred speech and a stumbling walk. Rangel placed him in cuffs in the back of his police unit.

He questioned the young girl,  who said her mother and her mother’s boyfriend were fighting.  She was teary-eyed and had a shaky voice.  When asked where her mother went, she did not know.  She led Rangel to the apartment where she lived, where her little sister, 3 years old, was alone with the front door open.

The mother walked out of another apartment at that time.  She had bloodshot eyes and smelled of liquor and spoke with slurred speed.  When asked  how much she’d had to drink, she estimated five beers.

The mother said everything was fine and asked where her kids were. Rangel asked who was watching the children and she said her mother was. Asked where her mother was at the moment, she said she was at a party at the Community Center.

Officer Luke Martin arrived on the scene and checked the back bedroom to find a small child by herself there.

When Officer Cindy Romancito arrived, she obtained permission to ask the 13 year old what was going on.  The teen said she felt scared when her parents were gone.  She said their older sister had been watching them earlier, but left to go to work.  She could not remember what time her older sister left.  She said she had texted her mother earlier and her mother texted back that she would return home later, that she was at the park

Rangel saw two other small children, 5 years old and 7 years old, also by themselves at the apartment.

Metro Dispatch contacted the grandmother to watch the children.  She arrived, but spoke very little English.  She was able to watch the children.

Rangel placed the mother and her boyfriend under arrest at 9:47 pm on the charge of abandonment/abuse of a child. Officers Rangel and Martin took the two to the McKinley County Jail for booking. The boyfriend also received a medical clearance.

Rangel contacted CYFD Statewide Central intake and reported the case to worker number 527.