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Artesia woman arrested on child abuse charges after boy tests positive for meth

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An Artesia woman was arrested Tuesday on child abuse charges after her son tested positive for methamphetamine.

Artesia Police Department officers were called to the Artesia General Hospital emergency room Sunday, Feb. 2, in reference to an incident that had occurred around 4 p.m. that day. Police learned a woman identified as 36-year-old Catalina Cruz of Artesia had arrived at the ER with her 4-year-old son, who, according to the criminal complaint, was “extremely agitated and exhibit[ing] signs he was hallucinating; such [as] grabbing at objects that were not there.”

Medical staff took a urine sample and advised Cruz she would have to wait for the results. According to the complaint, Cruz became agitated and said she couldn’t wait. After ER staff informed her that the APD and Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) would be called, she stated she “knew her rights” and left.

APD officers were advised that the child had tested positive for meth and that his symptoms indicated he had ingested the drug in the last 24 to 48 hours.

Police made contact with Cruz at her apartment, and she returned to the ER with the child around 5:30 p.m. According to the complaint, she was uncooperative in providing information to officers and refused to consent to a search of her home. Officers also spoke with a witness who said they had heard a child screaming in the apartment for the past day-and-a-half.

A search warrant was obtained, and police found a small baggie in the living room containing a whitish substance consistent with the appearance of meth, several smoking devices typically used to smoke meth, rolling papers, and marijuana. In a back bedroom, they found a glass plate with six lines of a white powdery substance and a credit card.

All items were within reach of a child.

A warrant for Cruz’s arrest was subsequently issued on charges of child abuse. She is scheduled to make her first appearance before Judge Jimmy C. Foster in Artesia Magistrate Court at 10 a.m. Friday.

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