Mother enters not guilty plea in severe child abuse case
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Natalie Saiz and her boyfriend are accused of causing severe injuries that put her 5-year-old son in the hospital for days. She pleaded not guilty Monday.
At some points, Saiz wiped away tears when she faced the judge for the child abuse charges.
“She understands the nature and the potential penalties. She will waive a formal reading and will enter a plea of not guilty to all counts,” said Ronald Lopez, Saiz’s defense attorney.
Saiz’s son was found with horrific injuries at the family’s home in October. Saiz told police her son fell off the bed.
The boy’s injuries were so severe that officers responding to the call had trouble holding it together.
Judge Stan Whitaker accepted the not guilty plea, but then prosecutor Lisa Roybal brought up something else.
“The state is asking that while the defendant is in custody that she not have any contact with the codefendant, and no contact with the victim in this case,” said Lisa Roybal, the prosecutor. “In this case, one of the primary factors for detention was that the defendant was found to be a danger to the child. There were allegations of threats and told him not to tell authorities, and so, your Honor, we do have concerns about damage to the child should the defendant try to contact him.”
Saiz shook her head in disagreement, but the judge agreed to keep Saiz from having contact with her son or her boyfriend, Phillip Valencia, who is also charged in the case.
“I’m going to put a zero-tolerance tag on these aspects, so there’s no contact with the alleged victim in this case, that means jail calls and that kind of stuff,” Judge Whitaker said.