2 wrongful death lawsuits filed in 5-year-old’s 2021 death

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TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. – Two years ago, a 5-year-old little boy died in Truth or Consequences. Now, there are claims that reports and red flags were ignored. 

Shaquille Ferguson Jr. was just five years old when he drowned in the Rio Grande in T or C in June 2021.

The father, Shaquille Ferguson Sr., told detectives several stories after his son’s body was discovered in the river. One of them, that they were swimming when his son went under, and that he pulled his 5-year-old son to the bank but then left him there.

“Did you push him back in the water?”

“No. I thought he would be OK. I went to go see my mom. I was freaking out. I came back and he wasn’t there.”

Ferguson Sr. is charged in his son’s death.

“You discarded him. You discarded him. The same dad that’s supposed to protect him, you just let him go. How can you have the heart to do that?”

But two newly-filed lawsuits allege there are others to blame – agencies that ignored signs and failed to protect him.

A wrongful death lawsuit against the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department claims there were eight CYFD reports involving Ferguson Sr. Five were substantiated cases of abuse or neglect. The last report was after Ferguson Jr. was born and before he died.

In another lawsuit aimed at the Truth or Consequences Police Department, documents allege in the weeks leading up to Ferguson Jr.’s death, police arrested or cited Ferguson Sr. multiple times. But those arrests were just missed opportunities to check on his son.

Around the same time, Ferguson Sr. allegedly took his son to the river, his neighbor called police for help, asking them to check on the little boy. 

The neighbor said she heard screaming and saw the five year old hogtied on the bed. The suit says that in-person welfare check never happened.

KOB 4 reached out for comment from the Truth or Consequence Police Department and haven’t heard back. 

A spokesperson for CYFD sent us a statement saying: 

“The department will be reviewing the suit, and CYFD will respond to these specific allegations in court.”