Mother and son arrested for child abuse, death of 12-year-old child in New Mexico


CIBOLA COUNTY, N.M (NEXSTAR) — A mother and son from Nevada were arrested by the New Mexico State Police on December 1.

According to NMSP, an investigation uncovered that the two were involved in abuse that caused the death of a 12-year-old girl.

Khachadourian Rooks, 17, via NMSP

Heather J. Rooks, 39, and Khachadourian Rooks, 17, were arrested and charged with Abuse of a Child Resulting in Great Bodily Harm.

The 12-year-old girl was Heather’s daughter, according to NMSP. Her full identity was not released.

NMSP said Khachadourian and the 12-year-old were traveling to Nevada in a van driven by Heather’s father. Heather was in the front seat and Khachadourian and the girl were in the back seat.

According to NMSP, Heather and Khachadourian both said the 12-year-old “threw a tantrum” during the trip. The 17-year-old then sat on the girl’s face and throat for up to 45 minutes to restrain her until she was not moving.

NMSP said Heather’s father then pulled over the vehicle and began CPR on the girl. She was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and died on December 4.

As a result of the girl’s death, NMSP said Heather and Khachadourian could face additional charges.

Heather’s father was not charged with a crime and was not identified by NMSP.

Heather Rooks, 39, via NMSP

Read the full release by NMSP below:

On December 1, 2019 the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau responded to Interstate 40 around mile post 114 in Cibola County, near the Town of Laguna for an unresponsive twelve-year-old female child, who’s condition was believed to be the result of child abuse. 

State Police Investigations Bureau agents learned that Heather J. Rooks (39) of Pahrump, Nevada was traveling through New Mexico to Nevada with her seventeen-year-old-son Khachadourian Rooks and her twelve-year-old-daughter, in a van driven by Heather’s father.  Heather and her father were in the front seats while Khachadourian and the daughter were in the rear seats of the van.

According to Heather and her son, the daughter “threw a tantrum” during the trip. Khachadourian sat on the girls face and throat to restrain her for up to forty-five minutes until she was not moving.  The grandfather then pulled the van over and began CPR on the girl.   Emergency Medical Services was called, and the girl was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital.

Heather J. Rooks and Khachadourian Rooks were both arrested and charged with Abuse of a Child Resulting in Great Bodily Harm on December 1, 2019.  They were booked into the Cibola County Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers on no bond holds.  On December 4, 2019 at around 1:00 p.m.  the child died from her injuries, and as a result Heather and Khachadourian could be facing additional charges.

This case is still under active investigation by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau.  The identity of the victim will not be released at this time.  The grandfather who has not been charged will not be identified.  At the conclusion of this investigation it will be turned over to the appropriate district attorney for prosecution. 

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