EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - An El Paso County mom is facing an Attempted 1st Degree Murder charge after authorities said she abandoned her 3-year-old boy near Interstate 25 Saturday morning.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it was one of their own who found the child. A 2-year-old K-9 named Axel discovered the cold and scared little boy in a drainage ditch covered by about five feet of tumbleweeds. Spokesperson Lt. Lari Sevene said the child was near railroad tracks about 200 yards from I-25 in the Rancho Colorado area.
"Based on where he was found, the fact there was brush around him and over top of him, the likelihood of a human finding him with relative ease, especially in that short of time, is next to nothing," said Sevene.
The child's mother, 28-year-old Nyesha Hall-Gonzalez, had been found wandering along the railroad tracks about three hours earlier. Deputies said she looked like she had been in a fight and seemed disoriented. State patrol troopers told investigators they had seen Hall-Gonzalez walking near the interstate with a toddler earlier that morning.
"As soon as we started questioning her about the child, she immediately became uncooperative," said Sevene.
After being alone in the cold for several hours, the little boy met his four-legged rescuer, about an hour after the dog started searching. Sevene said, thanks to Axel, the injuries the child suffered were minor.
"He did have some minor abrasions, some cuts and bruises and those types of things, but, fortunately, he was OK," said Sevene.
She said the sheriff's office considers Axel possibly the best K-9 it's ever had. The dog, a red sable German Shepard from Slovakia, has gotten Top Dog recognition by the U.S. K-9 Association. His handler, Deputy Mark Miller, said Axel got perfect scores when tested for tracking abilities, narcotics detection and other skills.
Sevene said Miller also played a big role in finding the child as he picked up immediately on signals from Axel.
Hall-Gonzalez remained in jail Sunday night on charges of Attempted 1st Degree Murder and Child Abuse. Her bond was set at $50,000.
Sevene said the boy was in the custody of his father, Hall-Gonzalez's husband.