Mother of dead child charged with murder

By Marley Shebala
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, May 22, 2009

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Police say Ty Toribio (left photo) may have been killed by his mother, Tiffany Toribio (right photo).

Baby Angel has been identified.

Baby Angel was one of the names given to the boy that was found buried in sand at a playground in Albuquerque on May 9.

Albuquerque Police Officer Nadine Hamby said on Wednesday that Tiffany Toribio told police that the child was her three-year-old son, Ty.

Hamby, police spokesperson, said that 23-year-old Toribio of Zia Pueblo confessed to suffocating Ty in the early morning hours of May 9.

She said Toribio has been charged with first-degree murder; abuse of child resulting death; child abuse; negligently caused death; tampering with evidence, and failure to report a death.

"All the charges are first-degree felonies," Hamby said.

She said Toribio is being held at the Bernalillo Metropolitan Center and is under suicide watch because she attempted to take her life while in custody early Thursday, May 21.

Hamby said Toribio confessed to the murder on May 21 after police arrested her late the night of May 20.

She said after police released a composite drawing of the child police received several tips, including one that identified Toribio as the mother of a toddler that looked like the drawing.

Hamby said police were told that Toribio had been seen in the playground area with Ty but that recently she was seen without her son.

At about 11 p.m. on May 21, police received a tip that Toribio was staying with a friend in Albuquerque, Hamby said.

When police arrived, the friend told them that Toribio had left to go downtown and turn herself in to police.

She said police found Toribio at Third and Central and that Toribio initially tried to conceal her identify.

When Toribio admitted who she was, police asked her where her son was and Toribio told police that child custody services had taken him, Hamby said.

She said that after the police informed Toribio that they had checked with child services and that her son with not in their custody, Toribio said Ty was with his dad.

But family members had already informed police that Ty had never met his dad and so Toribio was caught in another lie, Hamby said.

She said when Toribio finally admitted that she had Ty, investigators began working with Toribio to find out where Ty was and that was when Toribio made a full confession.

Hamby said Toribio told police that she and Ty were living with her mother in Albuquerque but that her mother kicked them out of the house in early May.

Toribio told police that she and Ty lived with friends here and there and were staying near the playground, part of Alvarado Park, when the friend kicked them out on May 21 at about 1 a.m.

Toribio said she and Ty walked around the park and waited for water sprinklers to turn off.

When they did, she took Ty to the sand box because that was the only place that was dry.

Toribio said after she laid down Ty and started to lay next to him, she though about how she had grown up as an unwanted child.

Toribio told police that she decided to take her son's life because she didn't want him growing up unwanted.

She put her hand over his mouth and nose and began suffocating him.

Toribio told officers she suddenly realized that what she was doing was "not a good idea."

Toribio tried to revive her son by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him.

But then Toribio changed her mind and began suffocating him again.

When Ty was no longer breathing, Toribio put his hands together over his body, covered him with sand and left him, Hamby said.

At a press conference on May 21, Zia Pueblo Governor Ivan Pino announced that a traditional Zia ceremony would be conducted at the playground for the boy.

"Police officers gave a tremendous sigh of relief when we found (Toribio) last night," Hamby said Thursday. "It was very tense for the first hour because when we found her she was alone.

"We were really hoping and praying that the child was not her child," Hamby said. "But as we interviewed her and she told us that the child was Ty, we experienced a little bit of closure."

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