The state Office of the Medical Investigator confirmed that 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia - whose body was unearthed from a shallow grave in Nambé in …
The state Office of the Medical Investigator confirmed that 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia - whose body was unearthed from a shallow grave in Nambé in January - died from blunt force trauma and had multiple new and old injuries consistent with the police theory that he was beaten and tortured before his death.
Search warrants in the case had suggested Valencia might also have been sexually assaulted before death. A newly released autopsy report says no concrete evidence exists of that but also says that does not exclude the possibility of sexual assault.
The report lists the teen's manner of death as homicide and details numerous injuries to his body, including multiple jaw fractures, a displaced eyeball, tears in his scalp, cheek and ear, and a broken hand and ribs.
The examination was limited by the decomposed nature of the remains, the report says. Toxicology results have yet to be released.
Authorities accused his mother's boyfriend, Thomas Wayne Ferguson, of killing the boy. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said in court documents Ferguson beat Jeremiah with brass knuckles, choked him, confined him to a dog kennel, urinated on him and forced him to wear diapers. Ferguson, who was charged with first-degree murder, was found dead in the Santa Fe County jail in April, having apparently used a sheet to hang himself.
Jeremiah's mother, Tracy Ann Peña, and Ferguson's 20-year-old son, Jordan Anthony Nuñez, have also been charged in connection with his death. Police say they were aware of the abuse, did nothing to stop it and helped Ferguson bury the body.
Both are charged with intentional child abuse resulting in death, multiple counts of tampering with evidence, and obstructing a report of child abuse or neglect. They are in jail awaiting trial.
Police discovered the body in January after receiving a tip from a jail inmate who said Peña had talked about her son's death while incarcerated on an unrelated charge.
Authorities say the child likely died in October, raising questions about why nobody, including school officials, noticed he was missing.
Ferguson had a history of abusing women and children, according to court documents, and was in violation of his probation on a 2014 domestic violence case at the time that he allegedly killed Jeremiah.
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