• ABQ RAW

GRAPHIC: Mom Charged in Child's Horrifying Death

By: ABQRAW staff

Posted: 5/4/2022 at 3:30PM

Updated: 5/4/2022 at 5:49PM (Story updates statement from CYFD)

Booking photo Doraelia Espinoza

Albuquerque -


Bernalillo County Sheriff Deputies and detectives were called to the University of New Mexico Hospital in reference to a disabled 16-year-old female that died of suspicious circumstances. When detectives arrived a nurse informed them the juvenile victim was brought into the hospital by her mother, Doraelia Espinoza of Albuquerque.

According to a criminal complaint, the medical staff stated the mother brought her daughter in during a full cardiac arrest. Espinoza stated that earlier she had put her daughter in the shower to try and wake her up.


The complaint goes on to state a detective examined the body of the 16-year-old and found the body to be extremely malnourished with no fat tissue or muscle, the detective also noticed road rash and or scrapes, and rashes around her vaginal area. Most shockingly the detective observed maggots crawling out of her vagina.


The Office of Medical Investigator on scene said the daughter had been deceased for a while due to the eyes being dry and the maggots were at least four days old.


Espinoza, the mother of the daughter, was interviewed by detectives and she stated she was between jobs and her daughter was blind with special needs. She went on to state that she changes her daughter's diaper six times a day and feeds her every day. She said that she heard moaning from her room and took her to the hospital. On the way to the hospital the daughter stopped breathing and parked her vehicle. When she came back the nurses told her daughter was dead. She then left the hospital.


A search warrant was executed at the home in SW Albuquerque and detectives found the residence in disarray, filthy, and the floor was covered with animal and human urine and feces.


Espinoza blamed her daughters injuries on the way her daughter would sleep and she made a statement that she had not changed her daughters diaper in at least a week. Espinosa said it was her fault her daughter died. Detectives asked why she did not take care of her daughter and she responded that she had been busy all week but couldn't actually account for her time.


Spokesman Charlie Pabst Moore-Pabst of Children Youth and Families outlined the process of removing a child from a parent/home.


"When a child cannot safely remain at home, our permanency planning procedures outline the process. The document can be found here: https://cyfd.org/docs/RE-ISSUE_12-2020-no8PR_10_Out_of_Home_Placements_w_Non_Traditional_Placements_and_Ice_Breakers.pdf , said Moore-Pabst in an email.

CYFD's statement in light of recent death of 16-year old girl:

While the investigation continues, the girl’s four siblings have been assessed by the department as safe. The department cannot comment further due to federal and state confidentiality laws protecting children.

“We grieve as a state, as a community, and as an organization trying to understand how and why such a terrible loss of life could have happened," said Secretary Barbara J. Vigil. “CYFD's responsibility of protecting vulnerable New Mexico children is of the absolute utmost importance. We will immediately investigate whether any additional action could have been taken to prevent this tragedy."

The workers at CYFD are caring, compassionate professionals dedicated to working with families that experience great difficulties. Our goal is always to ensure the health and safety of New Mexico children.

We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victim and are wholly committed to learning the circumstances that led to this heartbreaking tragedy.



Espinoza is charged with reckless abuse of a child resulting in death, and that could be upgraded to murder charges.


This is considered Albuquerque's 49th homicide of 2022.




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