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Sheriff investigates after boy, 4, dies in Santa Fe County

February 24, 2019

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 4-year-old Santa Fe boy whose parents called 911 Monday morning saying he was unresponsive.

Emergency responders airlifted the boy to an Albuquerque hospital, where he was pronounced dead, and detectives later learned that the child had injuries to his head and lower abdomen, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in state District Court by a sheriff’s detective.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Juan Rios said in a text message Friday that the case is “an open and ongoing investigation” and there had been no arrests made in connection with the boy’s death.

The affidavit says the boy’s stepmother, Carmella Martinez, told deputies that she had found the child in the early morning hours standing next to an overflowing bathroom sink and acting “dazed.”

She said the child became unresponsive, according to the affidavit, and in “an attempt to wake him up,” she tried to have him stand up but he couldn’t hold himself up and “his head would hit the floor.”

The affidavit says Martinez reported the child was breathing funny and that after he threw up on her shirt she panicked and put him in the bathtub and ran cold water over his body. When that didn’t work, the woman said she woke her husband, Garrett Fleming, the affidavit says, and he took the boy out of the tub and and began performing CPR.

Fleming told deputies the child was unresponsive but slightly breathing when he woke up, and he observed vomit coming from the child’s nose, according to the affidavit, which says Fleming and Martinez subsequently declined to speak any further about the incident.

Attempts to locate the couple late Friday were unsuccessful.

According to online court records, Carmella Martinez’s parents, Andrea Martinez and Johnny Martinez, were granted temporary legal guardianship of the child in 2015 while Fleming was incarcerated on charges of drug trafficking, being a felon in possession of a firearm and child abuse.

Fleming, 26, signed over his parental rights and duties to Carmella Martinez’s parents, who records indicate had helped raise the boy since his birth in April 2014.

Fleming stated in an affidavit in that case that he wanted to keep his son safe and out of the custody of the state Children Youth and Families Department while a criminal case him was pending.

Court records indicate that despite Carmella Martinez’s later objections to an extension of that guardianship, the court extended her parents’ guardianship of the boy another six months on September 2016.

Attempts to locate her parents for comment were unsuccessful late Friday.

The child’s mother, Dystany Gonzalez, never attended hearings on the matter, according to court records. Attempts to locate her for comment were unsuccessful late Friday.

Online court records indicate Fleming’s criminal record includes charges of drug trafficking, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, child abuse, resisting or evading an officer and extreme cruelty to animals.