Woman accused of harming infant in course of fight

Amber Valencia



A 20-year-old Grand Junction woman is accused of breaking her infant nephew’s skull by knocking him from his mother’s arms during a fight in February.

Amber Lissette Valencia was arrested Monday, seven months after the then-6-week-old baby was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center with a skull fracture in the early hours of Feb. 5, according to an arrest affidavit from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

The child’s mother — Valencia’s older sister — initially reported dropping her son accidentally while feeding him, the report said. She said she had bent over with the boy in her arms to pick up a bottle she had dropped, and the child slipped out and hit his head on tile.

A doctor who examined the child said that, based on a medication the mother said she was taking, her version of events “could have caused the injury,” the report said. Deputies closed the incident as non-criminal.

The next day, however, the child’s grandmother reported that Valencia had been babysitting the child and other children, but had fallen asleep. When the children’s mother returned home and found they had scribbled and painted on walls and a desk, she got in a physical fight with Valencia, the report said.

The grandmother said the child’s mother dropped him on tile during the fight.

An investigator followed up with the baby’s father, who said his son’s mother had called him and told him both versions of the story.

The child’s mother eventually admitted that she had lied about how her son was hurt, the report said.

“She and Amber got into an argument near the front door,” the report said of the child’s mother’s account. “(The mother) was holding (the baby) and Amber shoved (her), causing (him) to fall or knocking him out of her arms,” the report said.

Investigators requested a warrant on Feb. 8 on a felony count of child abuse causing serious bodily injury, but Valencia wasn’t arrested until Monday, when, according to defense attorney JR Davis, she turned herself in.

Valencia appeared Tuesday in Mesa County court, where Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle asked that she be held on a secure bond and restrained from contact with children younger than 18.

Davis argued that no contact with minors would be problematic as Valencia is pregnant herself.

Judge Art Smith agreed to order Valencia held in lieu of $7,500 in cash, but didn’t order her to stay away from minors except her now-9-month-old nephew.

Valencia is due back in court at 8 a.m. Sept. 19.


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