Contact Us

Arrest made: child abuse resulting in death

WALSENBURG — She is a broken doll; now officially identified by authorities as Alani Tatiana-Reyes-Cueva, but, even in a far too premature death, she has received a certain measure of justice. A little more than 18 hours after police and medical personnel raced to a home in the 200 block of East Eighth Street Sunday night, a 26-year old woman has been arrested and charged with child abuse resulting in death. Marissa Jackson, of 227 E. Eighth St., was taken into custody Monday night following her interview concerning the details of the death of her boyfriend’s four-year old daughter on August 3, 2014. Police and EMTs responded to the home at about 10 pm Sunday on a report of an unresponsive child. The toddler was rushed to Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center where she was pronounced dead. Walsenburg Police and agents from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation began intensive efforts to solve little Alani’s death. Jackson and others, including the child’s father, Donavan Cueva, 25, were interviewed by investigators and the home was searched for evidence of a crime. Cueva, a landscaper, was not in Walsenburg at the time authorities believe the killing took place. “His alibi was checked and confirmed,” WPD Chief Tommie McLallen said. Jackson was questioned by investigators for about two hours late Monday

afternoon and following her formal statement, Chief McLallen made the decision there was enough probable cause to warrant an arrest. “The decision to arrest was based on her interview and the totality of other statements, and evidence we obtained during the investigation,” he said. Cueva was also taken into custody on unrelated warrants from Adams County Colorado Monday. Huerfano County Jail personnel confirmed, as of Tuesday afternoon, he remained in custody on cash or surety bonds of $5,000 and $1,000 on the two Adams County warrants. Jackson is being held on a $100,000 cash or surety bond on the single charge of child abuse resulting in death. Chief McLallen said the investigation has not slowed even after the arrest and additional charges against Jackson could be filed at a later date. The Huerfano County combined courts website does not show a first court appearance for Jackson anytime this week. Cueva had been working out of town when the alleged incident happened and was highly emotional when notified of his daughter’s death. Five other children in the home, Cueva’s two young sons, and Jackson’s two young boys and one young daughter were placed in foster care. The couple have no children together. The mother of the young victim and Cueva’s two other children is a Michelle Reyes. McLallen said she is expected to meet with investigators sometime this week. Authorities did not have any other information about her available for release at press time. “A huge thanks is owed to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, specifically agents Gregg Slater and Randy Watts for their professionalism and assistance in this investigation,” said Walsenburg Police Department acting sergeant John Salazar, who is the lead investigator in the case. The incident has proven emotionally difficult on law enforcement personnel as well, from the first responding officers to detectives seeking facts in the case. “In 15-years you see a lot and this is the worse case we’ve worked in this office in a long time,” said Chief McLallen. “It has been hard, everyone in this office has played some role in the investigation,” he added. An autopsy on the toddler was conducted Monday at the El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office, but final results may not be released for up to two months. The child’s body has not been released and neurological testing has been ordered.