Mother accused in child abuse case, boyfriend sought by police

[anvplayer video=”5172149″ station=”998122″]

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY, N.M. – A mother and her boyfriend are at the center of a child abuse case in northern New Mexico. Officials say it involves the alleged “torture” of a 3-year-old girl.

San Miguel County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call just south of Las Vegas in the Villanueva area in late February. 

Officials say the call started as a response to a woman – Frances Tapia – beaten by her boyfriend. But when deputies arrived, they found out she wasn’t the only alleged victim there, her 3-year-old daughter was also covered in bruises.   

Deputies say the toddler also had bite marks. The toddler went into the care of family members, while a specialized child abuse doctor at UNMH did an examination. 

The doctor noted those bruises all over her body, along with human bite marks, a small hemorrhage by her right eye, and multiple areas of hair loss from pulling on the girl’s head. 

The doctor went on to say the little girl avoided questions about injuries, and even got tearful when asked about the injuries. 

With all of these findings, the doctor said in the care of Geronimo Benavidez and Tapia, the little girl abused was to the point of torture. 

San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office told KOB 4 off camera they are trying to find Benavidez, who has a warrant out for child abuse with great bodily harm. They did not comment any further, including providing a photo of Benavidez. 

The girl’s mother was booked and released from jail earlier this month.   

Officials say the little girl is in the custody of family members.

UPDATE (4/26/2023): The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office told KOB 4 they arrested Geronimo Benavidez. They say they found him at his grandmother’s house in Villaneuva, N.M.