Mother charged in the death of 4-year-old

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s been two years since four-year-old James Dunklee Cruz was killed. Officials say he was badly abused.

KOB 4 told you just last month that the little boy’s own mother, Krista Cruz, has been indicted for her role in his death.

But Cruz has not yet been arrested.

It was a case that really sparked more questions than answers. Four-year-old James Dunklee Cruz was discovered with extensive injuries at the Cinnamon Tree Apartments in 2019. He died at the hospital.

A family friend, Zerrick Marquez, was arrested and charged with his death. He was watching James at the time.

“I was the first one who did CPR on him. I was the first one who called 911,” said James Cruz Vigil.

KOB 4 talked to Cruz at a vigil for her son after his death. But in the two years since all of that, a lawsuit against CYFD alleges James should never have been in his mother’s care.

Now, Cruz is facing charges in his death.

“I would request a reset,” said Sarah Wintermute, with the Law Offices of the Public Defender.

Cruz was in court Monday for an arraignment. She was indicted on a charge of child abuse resulting in death. But the hearing was pushed back again.

“This case is actually going to be contracted out from the public defenders’ office,” said Wintermute.

She is still waiting on an attorney.

"I don’t know when Ms. Cruz applied. She was informed two weeks ago to apply and so it should have already been conflicted out I believe the LOPD’s office has known about this since they are representing a co-defendant. I’m hopeful they’ll get that done sooner or later, hopefully sooner,” said Savannah Brandenburg, prosecutor.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have already filed a witness list, planning to call a number of investigators, CYFD workers, and even coworkers.

The judge reset the hearing for another two weeks. Officials with the District Attorney’s Office said at the point of arraignment is when Cruz will be booked and released.