Man accused of killing 8-year-old daughter was previously investigated for child abuse | KOB 4

Man accused of killing 8-year-old daughter was previously investigated for child abuse

Nathan O'Neal
Created: August 03, 2020 07:17 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A man who is accused of killing his 8-year-old daughter in Carlsbad over the weekend was previously investigated for and charged with child abuse back in 2010, court records reveal. The abuse charge was later dropped as part of a plea deal.

Samantha Rubino, Juan Lerma's biological daughter, was found wrapped in a plastic trash bag outside Lerma’s home.

Shortly after Samantha's mother died back in April, she and her older brother went to live with him.

"It doesn't appear there was any strangulation, any broken bones, anything of that nature but it does—it looks like it's a severe head injury that caused a possible brain bleed,” said Carlsbad Chief of Police Shane Skinner.

Lerma’s mother told police that Lerma did not get along with Samantha and that “he was going to check on having Samantha placed into foster care.”

In an email, CYFD confirmed the department did not play a role in the placement of the child with her father following her mother’s death, saying it was a private family matter.

“The child was in her father's custody at the time of her death and not in the custody of the department. We are conducting an investigation into the death and upon completion of that investigation will release the summary of findings if it is determined that neglect or abuse caused the child's death,” read a CYFD statement in part.

KOB 4 asked CYFD officials if  they received any calls in the past regarding Samantha, but a spokesperson said the family’s history is protected by privacy laws.

According to CYFD, it is still unclear whether Samantha died on Friday or Saturday.

The time and cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

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