A New Mexico woman is facing charges after allegedly abusing her foster child, according to reports.
Hope Graciano, of Farmington, is accused of beating an 11-year-old boy because he didn’t get a math problem correct, and he received two black eyes and a skull fracture, KRQE reported.
Police found out about the abuse after Graciano took him to a hospital. While he was there, he mouthed, “Help me” to an officer.
Graciano claimed the child got the injuries while he was practicing soccer in the front yard, claiming he hit his head on a railroad tie.
Graciano, 53, was charged Monday, Oct. 23, with a first-degree felony count and two third-degree felony counts of child abuse, USA Today reported. She’s also accused of intimidation of a witness, according to the criminal complaint.
Arlon Stoker, Graciano’s lawyer, said she denies the charges.
Officials told KOAT that when the boy was questioned, he gave statements that investigators believed sounded like he had been coached.
He was asked if he felt safe with Graciano and replied, “Yes.”
Then, when he was pressed why, the child said it was a “danger-free zone.” Investigators said that’s an odd answer from an 11-year-old boy.
Later, the child told doctors that Graciano didn’t just beat him, but subjected him to other cruel punishments. Additional signs of abuse—including starvation—were discovered.
According to the Daily-Times, the child’s injuries were found to be inconsistent with Graciano’s claims to officials.
Search warrants were executed at the woman’s residence. Other children under her care were interviewed, the paper reported.
The foster children were removed from her residence, Farmington Cpt. Taft Tracy confirmed.
Other children in her care were allegedly abused, officials confirmed to KOAT.