Last Friday, Sante Fe, New Mexico police charged Ramiro Miranda-Quinonez and Maria Urias-Astorga with child abuse following their 14-year-old son’s death from untreated cancer. In an interview with detectives, Urias-Astorga said she had treated her son’s worsening health with herbs and other home remedies because the family didn’t have access to insurance and couldn’t afford to see a doctor.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the parents hadn’t taken the boy to a doctor in two years, only bringing him to Santa Fe Hospital on September 7 after he had trouble breathing. There, doctors discovered a massive tumor on the boy’s left side. When he was transferred to Presbyterian Hospital in rapidly deteriorating condition on Thursday, anonymous tipsters called local police to investigate potential child abuse. The child died on Thursday night. According to an arrest warrant, it’s unclear how long the family had been aware of their child’s symptoms, though they reported he’d been experiencing pain in his knees and hips as well as recent weight loss.
When the Santa Fe New Mexican interviewed peers and teachers at the boy’s school, they recalled involved parents and a happy child who had been present for distance learning during the first week of school. According to a court affidavit, Urias-Astorga said she hadn’t taken her kid to a doctor in a few years because the family didn’t have Medicaid and feared for the cost.
“He will die from this because his family didn’t bring him to care,” one doctor wrote, according to court documents reported by the Journal. “It’s just a tragedic case to where he really needed medical care that should have taken place long before,” a Santa Fe police captain told The Telegraph. The couple was released Monday from the Santa Fe county jail on $10,000 unsecured appearance bonds and are each charged with one count of child abuse for failing to secure potentially lifesaving medical care. According to the New Mexican, these are their first criminal charges.