Police have arrested a New Mexico couple in connection with their 1-year-old daughter’s death, days after police requested help finding the couple and their children after family members became concerned about their whereabouts.
David J “DJ” Zuber, 26, and Monique Romero, 23, are now facing charges including child abuse resulting in death after police discovered the body of their 1-year-old daughter buried in a backyard, according to local news station KOB.
According to a criminal complaint, Romero told authorities she had left her 1-year-old daughter, Anastazia, in a bathtub full of water along with her 2-year-old sibling. When she came back into the bathroom, the 1-year-old was unresponsive.
Romero never sought any medical help for her daughter and instead told Zuber, who allegedly took the child out of the apartment and then returned alone, telling her it had been “taken care of,” the complaint said.
The body was later discovered in the backyard of another home after Zuber allegedly told police where he had buried the child, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
“It’s tough for detectives to go out to a location, dig a hole and find a dead baby in a bag and then have to build a case around it," Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Simon Drobik told the paper. "Just horrible.”
The arrests came just days after the Albuquerque Police Department issued a plea for the public’s assistance in locating the couple and their three children. Police were particularly concerned about the whereabouts of 1-year-old Anastazia.
“The last mention of the child was on December 18, 2018 when her father, DJ Zuber, told his mother Eva that the baby had drowned in the bathtub,” they said. “Police were not called, and cannot confirm if the child is alive or safe.”
Police were called to do a welfare check on the child on Dec. 18 by concerned family members, but when they arrived Romero allegedly told the officer the child was staying with her sister, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
It’s not clear why the police waited until last week to ask for the public’s help in finding the girl, but police plan to investigate whether the case was handled properly.
The couple were found Friday morning at a home in New Mexico and have been arrested. Their two other children were taken into custody by the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department.
[Photo: Bernalillo County Metro Detention Center]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.