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Four Arrested After 3-Year-Old Girl From Massachusetts Dies in New Mexico: Police

4 Arrested After 3-Year-Old Dies From Child Abuse Allegations: Police
Source: Bernalillo County Jail

Kerri Anne Santos, Christina Hopkins Pena-Cantor, Austin Bing, and James Welch were all arrested in connection with the death of Santos' 3-year-old daughter, police said.

Jan. 15 2024, Published 3:07 p.m. ET

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Four people in New Mexico have been arrested in connection with the death of a 3-year-old girl, who died from child abuse, authorities announced.

Around 4 a.m. on Jan. 13, Kerri Anne Santos, 33, arrived at the University of New Mexico Hospital, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

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Santos had her three children with her, including a 3-year-old daughter who was wrapped up in a blanket, KRQE reported.

Santos told authorities that she came from Massachusetts and the toddler fell ill as they were traveling through New Mexico. According to the mother, the girl injured herself falling from a toilet at a gas station, and she brought her into the hospital, according to KRQE.

Medical staff determined the girl was dead on arrival, and they called police.

Authorities noted the girl had bruises and pressure marks on her ankles and called in detectives from Crimes Against Children. Santos' other two children were placed with the Children, Youth, and Families Department while the detectives investigated.

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Detectives contacted police in Massachusetts and learned about reports alleging domestic violence and suspicions Santos allegedly used drugs around her children, according to officials.

Santos’ oldest child spoke with detectives and said Santos, Christina Hopkins Pena-Cantor, 46, and her son, Austin Bing, 28, all traveled to Albuquerque from Massachusetts with the three children, ABQ RAW reported.

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The three children may allegedly sexually molested, officials said.

Police arrested Santos, Pena-Cantor, Bing and 48-year-old James Welch, authorities said. Santos, Pena-Cantor and Bing were reportedly staying at Welch’s home in Albuquerque, and Santos allegedly admitted that the little girl’s injuries occurred there, according to law enforcment.

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Santos was charged with two counts of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, one count of child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence, police said.

Pena-Cantor, Bing and Welch were each charged with two counts of child abuse. All four were being held without bond.

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