APD: Mother, 3 people arrested for death of 3-year-old girl

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A 3-year-old girl is dead, and her two siblings are with the Children, Youth & Families Department as their mother and three other adults are behind bars charged with abusing them.

Detectives with the Albuquerque Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit arrested 33-year-old Kerri Anne Santos, 46-year-old Christina Hopkins Pena-Cantor, her son 28-year-old Austin Bing, and 48-year-old James Welch.

APD says Santos, Pena-Cantor, and Bing arrived in New Mexico from Massachusetts with the 3-year-old and her 6-year-old and 6-month-old siblings recently.

Santos initially told police she was just traveling through the state. But police found out they were staying at an apartment on Gold Avenue with Welch.  

APD says Santos arrived at UNM hospital early Saturday morning with her three children because the 3 year old was sick.  She claims the girl fell from a gas station toilet and hurt herself. However, doctors said the toddler was already dead and called police.

APD says authorities were suspicious of Santos’ story and noticed the girl had several bruises on her body that were in different stages of healing. She also had ligature marks across both ankles.

Police say her 6-year-old sibling revealed one of the suspects would tie the 3-year-old’s ankles and hands with shoelaces.

Santos eventually told detectives her daughter was abused and hurt at Welch’s apartment.

Detectives say they also discovered all three children were molested.

The 6-year-old reportedly said neighbors would touch them on their private parts while their mom was there.

Police placed the two other siblings on a 72-hour-hold with CYFD Saturday.