Mother, boyfriend in court after toddler's murder

10:35 PM, Oct 30, 2009   |    comments
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Angel Ray Montoya faces the most serious charges, first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Police believe he killed the toddler while her mother, Miriam Gallegos, was at work in 2007.

Miriam Gallegos, Montoya's girlfriend, faces charges of child abuse resulting in death and accessory to a crime.

They were first arrested in September 2007, after Neveah's body was found in a ravine. Denver Police say Miriam Gallegos falsely reported that Neveah had been kidnapped.

Police say in September 2007, Montoya called Miriam Gallegos while she was at work, asking her to come home. When she got there, her daughter was not breathing, police say. Instead of calling an ambulance, police say Miriam Gallegos and Montoya put the girl in a plastic bag and Montoya disposed of the body.

Police asked residents to participate in the search for the missing girl by looking in their trash bins. After almost three full days of searching, Nevaeh's body was found.

Prosecutors initially had to release Miriam Gallegos and Montoya because they did not have enough evidence to charge them in the case. In May 2008, both were indicted.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey previously said part of the difficulty in charging Montoya and Miriam Gallegos initially had been the coroner's findings on the toddler's cause of death. The official report listed Naveah's cause of death as "undetermined." After getting a second opinion, Morrissey says it was determined Naveah died of asphyxiation.

Montoya also faces separate charges for failing to register as a sex offender. That case has been continued to 2010 because of the outstanding murder charge. In 2005, Montoya was sentenced to 18 months probation for abusing a 5-year-old boy.

Montoya and Miriam Gallegos will both be back in court in February for the Neveah case.


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