Serving the High Plains

Woman charged with three felonies

Local police detained a Tucumcari woman on felony charges after she was accused of letting three young girls roam on a roadway unsupervised.

Judy K. Cochran, 74, was charged with three counts of abuse of a child (first offense; placed in a dangerous situation). The complaint states the children’s guardian was asleep inside and “the defendant knew or should have known of the danger involved and acted with reckless disregard to the child’s safety or health.”

The charges each are third-degree felonies that can lead up to three years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Quay County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rudy Vallejo, police on April 29 were requested to the area of Seventh Street and Dohoney Avenue to check on three girls unsupervised on a roadway.

A resident of the area said he was walking when the three girls — identified as ranging in age from 4 to 5 years old — approached him and told him their parents had left them and were scared.

The girls’ aunt arrived on the scene and retrieved the girls. Vallejo said he then spoke to each of the girls. One said Cochran would not let them go out to see their other grandmother. The girls said they climbed over a fence, and one had fallen, injuring her knee.

The deputy contacted Assistant District Attorney Heidi Adams about the case, who advised it was appropriate to charge Cochran.

Vallejo wrote he approached the backyard of Cochran’s residence when she came out and asked what was going on.

“I asked Ms. Cochran where she had been and she said she was washing dishes prior to looking for the girls,” Vallejo wrote. “Ms. Cochran was then placed in restraints and advised she was under arrest.”

According to online court documents, Cochran was released on her own recognizance two days later. In addition to usual release conditions, she is required to not have unsupervised contact with minors.

Erin Van Soelen of Clovis is listed as Cochran’s public defender. Cochran’s next court hearing is scheduled for May 31.