In the late afternoon of August 30, 2017, Jessica Lowther was on the phone with her husband, Adam. Recently back from a routine business trip, Adam called to say he was headed home from work and would take their two young children to their taekwondo lessons. During that call, Jessica answered a knock on her front door. A handful of Bernalillo County Sheriff’s officers and at least one investigator from the Children Youth and Families Department stood at her door. A female officer said they needed to do a welfare check on the two Lowther children.
ALBUQUERQUE – With cuts and bruises on his face, back and shoulders, Jerome Eskeets frantically told police about the violent assault he barely survived the night before. In his 30s, Eskeets had been sleeping in an empty lot on Albuquerque’s west side with friends and relations, Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson, who like Eskeets were Dine’, as members of the Navajo Nation call themselves. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth. Soon after talking to Eskeets, police found Gorman’s and Thompson’s bludgeoned bodies. The 2014 crime shocked Albuquerque, the state and occasionally made national news as the cases against the three defendants eventually arrested in the brutal killings — youths Alex Rios, Nathaniel Carrillo and Gilbert Tafoya — worked their way through the court system.
State Auditor Tim Keller announced Monday his office found what appears to be embezzlement of nearly $20,000 in public funds meant to go toward paying people with disabilities for training classes. The Office of the State Auditor announced Monday in a press release that it found $18,225 in public funds went to the personal bank accounts belonging to the former program director of the Center for Self-Advocacy. The Center for Self-Advocacy is part of the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), a public entity. Those with disabilities in the Center for Self-Advocacy program, called advocates, receive a $25 stipend to attend the training classes. The state auditor’s investigation found the “Program Director created false DDPC advocate invoices for classes not attended by the advocates.” These payments did not go to the advocates; instead, they went to the former program director’s bank account.
Raúl Torrez is a former federal prosecutor running as a Democrat of District Attorney in the Second Judicial District (Bernalillo County). Innovation is the Key to Combating Violent Crime in Our Community
Our community is at a crossroads. The senseless killing of four-year-old Lilly Garcia and the tragic loss of Officer Daniel Webster – one of APD’s very best – are stark reminders of the crisis in our criminal justice system. And once again, we find ourselves united in grief, struggling to comprehend why our community has become so dangerous and asking what, if anything, can be done? As we search for answers, we must be careful not to allow our anger and disappointment in the system to overwhelm our larger objective or obscure the fact that together, we can solve this problem.