Life support

Woman on life support after husband beat her

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A woman from Albuquerque is on life support and is unlikely to survive after being beaten by her husband. Bernalillo County MPs had responded to a domestic violence call at the couple’s home days before, so did they miss the red flags? When MPs responded to the South Valley home last weekend, they questioned the couple, separated them for the evening and left. Days later Kristy Rivera, 42, was brain dead and her husband was charged with murder.

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputies said Jerome Gutierrez, 54, admitted to beating his wife for ten years, which doctors said left her brain dead. Court documents say last Saturday that MPs responded to a domestic violence call at the couple’s South Valley home. Rivera told MPs that Gutierrez slapped and punched her after an argument, then fired a gun at her. MPs noted that Rivera could not make eye contact and had slow and imprecise responses.

However, as MPs saw no physical evidence and Gutierrez denied the allegations, MPs did not arrest him. Jessie Fierro, of the Domestic Violence Resource Center, said that was not enough. “There are a lot of things that can happen without showing an external injury,” said Fierro.

Then, two days later, Gutierrez called 911, claiming Rivera had fallen in the bathroom and was unconscious. She was taken to UNM hospital, but doctors did not believe Gutierrez’s story. Medics said Rivera’s injuries were commonly seen in high-speed crashes such as car crashes, ATV crashes, or blunt trauma. Medics said Rivera’s injuries were incompatible with falling and banging his head. MPs clashed with Gutierrez who ultimately admitted to abusing Rivera.

Gutierrez told MPs he pushed her, banged her head against the wall, grabbed her by the throat, shook her and fell on top of her on the porch on Saturday night MPs didn’t did not stop him. It all happened in front of their five-year-old daughter.

Fierro said that is why victim advocates should be called into every domestic violence scene to help. “We are seeing the number of domestic violence increase,” said Fierro. “We should see a huge increase in our appeals on the ground. Unfortunately, we are not. I don’t know if it’s because the officers are under pressure or in a rush to answer another call.

Fierro said that comparing 2019 to 2021, they saw a 100% month-over-month increase in the number of victims calling their resource center. Fierro said she is contacting all police departments to see how they can help. Fierro had a meeting with BCSO on Friday on how they can work better together.

BCSO declined an interview for this story. Rivera was the owner and manager of Edible Arrangements on the West Side.

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