PORTALES, N.M. — On Thursday, Augustin Gallegos, 34, was arrested on charges of First Degree Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence in connection to a 9-year-old girl who went missing on May 15.
According to an official statement, the girl was found safe in a storage room of a church in Portales. The statement went on to say Gallegos admitted to taking the child and led police to where she was located.
The following is the full press release from the New Mexico Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office:
Ninth Judicial District Attorney, Andrea Reeb, announced that Augustin Gallegos, age 34, of Portales, was arrested late Thursday afternoon on charges of First Degree Kidnapping (Intent to commit death, a physical injury or a sexual offense) and Tampering with Evidence. The case will be presented to a Roosevelt County Grand Jury next week at which time more charges will be filed, including Child Abuse and 2 counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a minor.
On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, a 9 year old female child was reported missing after not returning home from school in Texico, New Mexico. During the investigation, it was determined by law enforcement the child was taken in a vehicle by Gallegos, a family friend. The Texico Police Department worked throughout the night and ultimately located the child locked in a storage room at a church in Portales. Gallegos admitted to transporting the child to Texas and then to Portales, knowing that law enforcement, her family, and the community were searching for the child. Gallegos ultimately admitted he had taken the child and led Texico police to the church at approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The child was unharmed and reunited with her mother.
Gallegos was interviewed and claimed he had taken the child to protect her from a relative that was abusing her. However, after multiple interviews and investigation, this claim has not been substantiated.
District Attorney, Andrea Reeb, stated, “I am very proud of the work all law enforcement did on this case. The Texico Police Department worked continuously throughout the night to find the child. Critical follow-up support and investigation was done by the Texico Police Department, FBI, State Police, Clovis Police Department, Portales Police Department, Curry County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. We continue to work together in this matter and the investigation is still pending.”
Gallegos is currently being housed at the Roosevelt County Detention Center on a no-bond hold. A pre-trial detention hearing will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 24, in District Court in Portales.