This letter is long overdue. In December I received a card from Rio Arriba County Commissioner James Martinez. On the card he claims the County has made progress in completing multiple projects, such as County facilities, park upgrades and he projects more projects are in the planning stages. He says he looks forward to continuing the work for the residents of the County.

    Nowhere does he address the horrific incidents that plague the Rio Arriba County Adult Detention Center. This facility represents the Holocaust, where individuals were murdered. They were incarcerated, most did not return, they died at the hands of Adolph Hitler.

    My son Juanito was arrested and incarcerated Oct. 1, 2020 and had court Oct. 2. He was returned to jail after court. On Oct. 3 in the early morning I was notified of his death.

    How could an inmate be able to attend court Oct. 2 and by Oct 3 in the early morning, he was deceased?

    A Rio Grande SUN story quoted a deputy or sheriff saying his death was due to natural causes. When I saw my son’s body at the DeVargas Mortuary, his body was badly beaten, abused and battered.

    Up to this day, six months later, I still haven’t received a single word from the Office of the Coroner, not received any report form the Sheriff’s Office regarding an investigation to the cause of his death or from the city. I have tried to get information from these agencies and no one will address questions. I need these questions answered. What is the holdup?

    This brings me back to the accomplishments mentioned in the post card that was sent to Rio Arriba County residents. No mention is made about improving the conditions at the detention center in Tierra Amarilla.

    Why are people dying at that facility? I know there have been others and the County pays all these suits? This detention center needs to be investigated. How many more people should perish?

    I realize my son had his problems. If he was incarcerated, there was a reason, that is not my issue. Why and how he died is my issue. The commissioner should include why do these deaths continue?

    How many more need to die to get someone’s attention? Who is at fault? I ask County Manager Tomas Campos to have compassion for our loss of our children and loved ones. They were fathers, brothers, husbands and sons. I really feel for their losses. Yes they had their issues, but they didn’t deserve to die in there. Where do I put his memorial cross?

    Margie Benevidas


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