4-year-old’s death raises questions | KOB 4

4-year-old’s death raises questions

Patrick Hayes
Updated: December 17, 2019 06:53 AM
Created: December 14, 2019 10:41 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Family members identified the boy who died Tuesday as 4-year-old James Dunklee-Cruz.

As KOB 4 previously reported, Albuquerque police responded to the Cinnamon Tree Apartments where they found the child unresponsive.


The boy was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

James’ family members think his death was preventable.

Kevin Nelson, the boy’s grandfather, told KOB 4 that James was living with him and other family until the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department gave him back to his mother.

“Basically, CYFD forced us to do that,” Nelson said.

“They wanted to go for a reunification with the mother which we knew was a bad idea,” he added.

According to Nelson, the boy had a lot of bruises when he came to live with them. He said he showed CYFD officials the pictures.

CYFD officials said the state’s Children’s Code prevents them from talking about the case and sent KOB 4 the following statement:

“The Children, Youth and Families Department is investigating the death of a 4-year-old male that occurred on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.”

Arturo Baca, James’ mother’s ex-boyfriend said he doesn’t think the mother is to blame.

"I think it's more of the people she left him in the hands of,” he said.

Baca said he helped raise the child until the couple broke up a couple months ago.

“I didn’t want to see that little guy from home to home to home and not have anyone to rely on.”

On Saturday, Baca created a makeshift memorial for James with candles, a picture and a Paw Patrol Christmas stocking.

He said he hopes whoever killed James will go to jail for life.

Nelson also wants justice for his grandson but said he’s worried.

“Unfortunately, another child had to pass to expose this tragedy that CYFD seems to be wanting to be perpetrating because it seems like it’s going to end up being another Victoria Martens case all over again,” he said.

“And that’s just wrong.”

A vigil will be held for James at ABQ Party Space on Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

Copyright 2019 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook



Police investigate homicide at park in SE Albuquerque

APD investigates fatal West Side crash

Fire reported at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs

Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails to offer online classes

Man charged with murder is also accused of beating woman, causing her to miscarry twins