Mother faces neglect charges related to teen daughter’s death

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police issued an arrest warrant for a 39-year-old woman related to the death of her teenage daughter in February.

A criminal complaint indicates complications of a recent injury and the toxic effects of fentanyl led to the 16-year-old’s death. An autopsy ruled it as a homicide.

Last December, the teen was recovering in the hospital after a car crash. She had a broken jaw, meaning she could only manage liquids.

The teen was supposed to have surgery but that never happened. Then, doctors prescribed medication for her pain, but not fentanyl, court documents indicate.

When police found her unresponsive, she was frail and severely dehydrated, according to documents. She reportedly weighed 73 lbs. when she died and officers allege her “eyes were sunken into her head.”

The investigation into her death led officers back to her mother, 39-year-old Clarissa Montoya. They discovered numerous reports to CYFD for drug and alcohol abuse and emotional and physical abuse, according to documents.

They couldn’t find any record of the teen or her siblings, having gone to school for several years.

Referrals for educational neglect, inadequate shelter, physical neglect and medical neglect were all substantiated by CYFD, according to court records.

As recently as December, when the car crash happened, documents show someone made a report to CYFD. Emergency room staff documented concerns about the teen’s safety.

Ultimately, doctors discharged her to the care of her mother.

We reached out to CYFD to find out if they were actively engaged with this family. We haven’t heard back.