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Mom Allegedly Leaves Children To Go To Denny’s, Las Cruces Police Say

Family members of a Las Cruces mother accused of child abuse told ABC-7 she hasn’t taken responsibility for her children in a long time.

Police arrested 27-year-old Luz Gutierrez early Thursday morning after her 8-year-old son walked next door to his aunt’s residence, wondering where his mother was. Police said Gutierrez arrived about 25 minutes later, around 4 in the morning, and told officers she just left her kids alone for a few minutes to go eat at Denny’s.

When officers went inside Gutierrez’s apartment, they said it was in “deplorable” condition. Officers said they noticed foul odors coming from the refrigerator and sink. They also reported finding moldy bread and spoiled food on the floor.

“It’s really disturbing to go into that apartment,” a family member who did not want to be identified told ABC-7. “We actually had to go in there and get out clothing and things like that, and you had to basically rummage through piles to get to anywhere.”

Family members allowed ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom crew to take a look inside. The crew said a strong rotten stench filled their noses as soon as the door was opened. They described the smell as a mix of decay and vomit.

Gutierrez was living in that apartment with her three children, ages 8, 6, and 4.

Family members said they had no idea the conditions were so bad.

“If we would pass by her apartment, the first thing she would do is slam the door so we couldn’t see into her apartment,” a family member said.

Investigators said Gutierrez told them she cleans on Fridays, and that’s why the apartment was a mess.

ABC-7 obtained a police report from April 8 that shows Gutierrez has left her kids home alone before. In the report, police officer said there were called to the scene around two in the morning. Officers said Gutierrez’s children were crying outside her apartment and told them she was at Jose Murphy’s, a local restaurant and bar.

Police said when Gutierrez showed up, she said she was picking up friends who were drunk at the bar and was only gone for a few minutes.

“Out partying, leaving kids alone, acting like a teenager, not thinking of consequences,” a family member described Gutierrez’s behavior for the past few months.

Family members told me they just want the best for the young children who shouldn’t have to live like this.

“They need to be somewhere where they’re gonna be taken care of, not just given toys and expected to feed themselves,” a family member said.

Gutierrez is charged with one count of intentional child abuse. The charge is a third-degree felony. She is being held at the Doa Ana County Detention Center on a $10,000 bond.

Police said the three children showed no physical signs of harm and are in the care of their grandmother.

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