April 16, 2014

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Mother of boy charged in killing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A single mother accused of suffocating her 3-year-old son and burying him in a playground will face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder, prosecutors said Friday.

Tiffany Toribio, 23, was charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and other counts related to the May 13 death of her son, Tyruss “Ty” Toribio. His body was discovered two days later.

Lee Hood, a public defender representing Toribio, waived the reading of charges in a court appearance Friday.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said no circumstances would qualify Toribio for the death penalty. She said the state`s current law allows the death penalty in limited circumstances such as cases of murdering a police officer or murder for hire.

The state on July 1 did away with the death penalty for murder in most cases, where the maximum penalty is now a life sentence without possibility of parole.

The district attorney`s office was evaluating whether other people could be charged for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Brandenburg said people have a duty to report suspected child abuse, though she acknowledged it was “a real gray area” and that no decision had been made.

Albuquerque police had said Toribio was recently homeless because she had been kicked out of her mother`s house and a friend`s apartment for ignoring her son.

Toribio`s sister said Friday that the boy was doted on by family members, who she said were devastated by his mother`s alleged actions.

“The night Tyruss passed, the Tiffany we all knew and loved also passed with him,” Emily Apodaca said in a prepared statement read at Calvary Chapel, where she is a member.

Toribio remained jailed Friday on $250,000 bond.