Portales couple indicted on child abuse charge

Freedom New Mexico

A Portales couple accused of depriving a 10-year-old girl of food has been indicted by a Roosevelt County grand jury on a felony charge of child abuse.

The indictment was handed down Friday against Mern and Athena Shepherd, both age 33, in the case of Mern’s daughter.

According to the indictment both adults in the Shepherd household are charged with placing the girl “in a situation that may endanger her life or health or to be tortured, cruelly confined or cruelly punished.”

The crime is considered a third-degree felony and no court date has yet been set for trial.

Both of the accused are in Roosevelt County Detention Center in lieu of $5,000 bond each.

They were arrested Sept. 24 after teachers at the girl’s school contacted police.