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Malcolm Torres pleads guilty to second degree murder

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Malcom Torres pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Torres, 29, of Española, New Mexico, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement and other court records, on Sept. 7, 2019, Torres was home with his five-year-old stepdaughter, identified as Jane Doe, and eighteen-month-old son. Torres was heavily intoxicated and not fit to supervise the children. While in Torres’ care, Jane Doe sustained blunt-force trauma to her head, torso, and extremities. Torres became aware of Jane Doe’s injuries while she was still alive but failed to seek or provide necessary medical care. Torres claims he was too drunk to remember how he injured Jane Doe.

On the afternoon of Sept. 8, 2019, Jane Doe’s grandparents returned to the home and were informed by Torres that Jane Doe had been missing since that morning. Jane Doe’s grandmother immediately alerted Doe’s mother, who contacted law enforcement.

On Sept. 11, 2019, law enforcement located Jane Doe’s body in the Rio Grande River on the Santa Clara Pueblo. The resulting investigation revealed that Torres had driven to the area 5.5 miles from his home and left her body there on Sept. 8. Over the course of  interviews with the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police, Torres provided law enforcement with numerous conflicting statements, delaying the recovery of her body, and lengthening the wide-spread and vigorous efforts of law enforcement and the Santa Clara Pueblo community to locate her.

“This conviction demonstrates the continuing commitment of federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials to work together to combat violent crime on Native American tribal lands,” said Raul Bujanda, FBI Special Agent in Charge. “The senseless murder of a 5-year-old child is a tragic occurrence, and I’m glad the collaborative effort put forth by all involved agencies has resulted in this conviction. The murder allegation in this complaint reveal an indifference to human life that will not be tolerated.”

“As a crimes against children prosecutor myself, and a father of three, the loss of young life strikes at my core,” said U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez. “I mourn with you. While a guilty plea does not bring back the life that was taken, we hope it brings closure to Jane Doe’s family and confidence that justice will find those who harm the most vulnerable.”

Torres faces a minimum of 30 years and up to life in prison. Upon his release from prison, Torres will be subject to five years of supervised release.

The Santa Fe Resident Agency of the FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Espanola Police Department, Santa Clara Pueblo Tribal Police Department, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Albuquerque Police Department Open Space Search and Rescue Team, Espanola Fire Department and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Tribal Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jack Burkhead, Brittany DuChaussee and Zachary Jones are prosecuting the case.

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