A TEENAGER whose body was found discarded in a plastic storage bin on the side of a road spent his final days living in a dog kennel, according to cops.
Jeremiah Valencia’s body was found near his New Mexico home two months after he was allegedly beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend.
Jeremiah Valencia's body was found in a plastic storage bin along New Mexico State road
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the teenager had also been starved in the run up to his tragic death.
Jeremiah’s mother Tracy Ann Pena, 35, was arrested along with her 42-year-old boyfriend Thomas Ferguson and his 19-year-old son Jordan Nunez.
The trio were charged with the abuse of a child resulting in death, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence.
Court records claim the teenager suffered horrific torture and was cruelly confined and abused before his death last November.
During a press conference, Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia struggled to hold back tears as he described the horrendous abuse suffered by the child in the days leading to his death.
He said: “I can honestly say that this poor child suffered at the hands of a monster.”
The County Sheriff confirmed the teenager had been tortured for a number of years at the home in Nambe, north of Santa Fe.
The District Attorney Marco Serna said Jeremiah had not been enrolled in school and had been so severely beaten that he had to use a cane to walk.
He added: “He was placed in a dog kennel for hours on end without food. It's absolutely heartbreaking; these acts are senseless.”
Jeremiah went missing in November but his disappearance was not reported to authorities until last week.
According to local media, the teen’s mother, who was in jail for an unrelated case, told a fellow inmate her son had been murdered in November.
The inmate raised the issue with authorities, sparking a search for the child’s body.
Deputies made the gruesome discovery over the weekend a few miles from his home.
His body was found discarded in a plastic storage bin in a shallow grave on the side of the road.
An inquest into his death is underway as the medical examiner determines an exact cause of death.
Local reports suggest 19-year-old Nunes saw his father hitting the young boy around Thanksgiving, before taking him out of the house.
Investigators allege Ferguson punched the child several times in the face and stomach in a fit of anger shortly before his death.
District Attorney Marco Serna released a statement on Monday saying: “I am sickened by this horrific tragedy.
“I want northern New Mexicans to know this case is of the highest priority and I will do everything in my power to seek justice for this innocent child.”
Court documents reveal that Jeremiah’s mother was investigated by the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department in 2011.
He and his sister were both placed in the care of their grandparents, but were eventually released back to their mother.
All three suspects will remain behind bars until a trial date is set and no bail has been set for them.