HOBBS, N.M. — A tragic situation unfolding in Hobbs, New Mexico over the last few days. Alexis Avila gave birth to her child on Jan. 7. She then took the newborn child and tossed him in a dumpster.
It was all caught on surveillance video, and Avila was arrested. However, she spent only a little over an hour in jail before getting out on bond.
She is charged with attempted first degree murder, or alternatively, abuse of a child.
Avila made an appearance in court on Jan. 12, where she was formally arraigned on a charge of attempted murder. The judge ruled she will stay under house arrest, with an ankle monitor, until her trial.
There are some exceptions. She will be able to go to doctors appointments, her job and court-mandated counseling appointments. She can also attend church services, if her parents choose to attend as well.
No trial date has been set yet.
The interim chief of police for the Hobbs Police Department, August Fons, has never experienced anything like this before.
"I can’t speak for everyone else here, but I never have in my entire career here in law enforcement," Fons said. "I’ve never seen a situation like this or encountered a situation like this."
The surveillance video has left many in shock and disbelief, including the owner of Rig Outfitters, Joe Imbriale. It was Imbriale's surveillance cameras that caught everything.
"I’m still flabbergasted even after all this has happened, and the girl is walking free," Imbriale said. "The baby spent more time in the dumpster than this girl spent in jail."
It's only been a few days since the video was captured, but Imbriale is still coming to terms with the heartbreaking find.
"Something told me, I turned around and I said 'please do not tell me it was a baby,' and she grabbed my shoulder and that’s when I broke down crying," Imbriale said. "She said the baby’s alive, but yes, that’s what we’re looking for. And two of the officers had to walk away because when we said that verbally, it hit them."
The baby was less than 24 hours old when Avila wrapped him in two garbage bags filled with trash. The baby then spent roughly six hours in the garbage bags in the dumpster.
Officers said that the baby boy is lucky to be alive. He is in stable condition at a Lubbock hospital.
"God intervened in this," Imbriale said. "This is the hand of God protecting that baby for five and a half hours, because the cops said this baby shouldn’t have survived. I mean being wrapped up in a bag, he probably should have suffocated."
Imbriale said it was a nudge from a higher power that pushed him to install the security cameras in the first place, and he recalls a conversation he had with a friend about these cameras.
"I said that on day one," Imbriale said. "He knows me for many years. He says, 'I remember you saying that Joe, you put your cameras out to protect the public,' and thank God I did because they told me had I not had the cameras, they would've never found this girl."
The question remains, why would a mother leave her child? Why did she feel that was her only choice? What did she think would eventually happen to the baby? They were questions that she couldn't answer when pressed by investigators.
As for other options, the Hobbs Police Department and Fire Department are designated as safe haven sites. A person may leave an infant with the staff of a safe haven site without being subject to criminal prosecution, abandonment or abuse charges, if the infant was born within 90 days of being left at the site. This is as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, and if the infant is left in a condition that would not constitute abandonment or abuse of a child.
People wishing to make donations to benefit the affected child may do so at the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department’s office located at 907 West Calle Sur in Hobbs.
Monetary donations will not be accepted, but gift cards and new items like toys, clothes, diapers, and hygiene products will be received.
Also for those interested, donations of new items for children of all ages in the care of the NMCYFD are accepted every day.