NAMBE, N.M. -- (KQRE) -- Jeremiah Valencia and his sister were abruptly taken out of school in the middle of a semester. Months later he was dead, and according to investigators, he had endured months of abuse beforehand.
Now, KRQE News 13 has learned no one followed up on them.
Law enforcement is downright frustrated. There are many questions surrounding 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia.
At a committee meeting at the capitol on Thursday, Jeremiah’s death was a hot topic.
Wouldn’t a school have noticed a child missing? A spokesperson for West Las Vegas schools said in February 2017, Jeremiah and his sister were withdrawn from the middle school. No one checked to see if the kids were enrolled in a new school.
Public Education Department policies say school districts must make efforts to keep students enrolled, but there is no set system in place to track children taken out of schools.
Lawmakers like N.M. State Rep. Eliseo Alcon Alcon have questions for CYFD. In 2011, a spokesperson for CYFD said they opened an investigation into Jeremiah’s family concerning abuse or neglect.
Family members petitioned for temporary guardianship, and it was granted. Once CYFD determined the children were in a safe home, the case was closed.
“Families have a constitutional right to live their lives without CYFD in that family unless those families are breaking the law,” said Monique Jacobson, the Cabinet Secretary for CYFD during that committee meeting.
A spokesperson said once a case is closed, CYFD no longer has jurisdiction over that family.
KRQE News 13 is waiting to hear from PED regarding if they are looking into a more concrete system of tracking students once they are withdrawn from a school.