N.M. man pleads guilty to killing stepdaughter whose body was found in the Rio Grande River
04/10/2023 4:00 pm PDT
RIO ARRIBA COUNTY, N.M. (TCD) -- A 29-year-old man recently pleaded guilty in the 2019 death of his 5-year-old stepdaughter while he was "heavily intoxicated."
The victim, Renezmae Calzada, was last seen on Sept. 8, 2019, and was reported missing to the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State Police announced in a news release.
An Amber Alert was issued for the missing girl, and according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, her body was found in the Rio Grande River a few days later, on Sept. 11, 2019.
Prior to her disappearance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico said the girl was under the care of her stepfather, Malcolm Torres, when she suffered blunt-force trauma to her head, torso, and throughout her body.
According to the Attorney’s Office, Torres told officials he was "too drunk to remember how he injured" the girl. Torres, who was home with the victim and his 18-month-old son, was reportedly "not fit to supervise the children" and did not seek medical care.
When the victim’s grandparents came home, Torres told them the victim had been missing since that morning, and the grandmother told the victim’s mother, who then contacted law enforcement.
The FBI said Torres was arrested in October 2019 in Pojoaque Pueblo.
On Monday, April 10, the Attorney’s Office announced that Torres pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled, but he faces a minimum sentence of 30 years and up to life in prison.
In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda said, "This conviction demonstrates the continuing commitment of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials to work together to combat violent crime on Native American tribal lands."
Bujanda continued, "The senseless murder of a 5-year-old child is a tragic occurrence, and I’m glad the collaborative effort put forth by all involved agencies has resulted in this conviction. The murder allegation in this complaint revealed an indifference to human life that will not be tolerated."
U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez added, "As a crimes against children prosecutor myself, and a father of three, the loss of young life strikes at my core."
- Malcolm Torres pleads guilty to second degree murder –– U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico
- AMBER ALERT for Rio Arriba County Sherriff’s Department- Renezmae Calzada, 9/8/2019 –– New Mexico State Police
- FBI Media Alert: Española Man Arrested in Death of Renezmae Calzada, 10/28/2019 –– FBI
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