Crime

Mother arrested after boy tests positive for meth a teacher at Sunrise Elementary

Las Cruces teacher arrested

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom has learned the mother arrested after her son tested positive for meth is a teacher at Sunrise Elementary.

Las Cruces Police arrested the woman and her live-in boyfriend.

Police said 32-year-old Melanie A. Marolt and 37-year-old Skip H. Valenzuela, both of 2775 Roadrunner Parkway, are charged with one count each of Child Abuse, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Use or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

ABC-7 reached out to Las Cruces Public Schools regarding Marolt's arrest, but the district declined to comment on personnel matters. District officials would only confirm Merlot has been employed four years.

ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom obtained a letter Sunrise Elementary Principal Dora Solis mailed to parents of Sunrise students.

"I am writing to inform you of a situation that is both surprising and concerning to the school staff.  We have just recently learned one of our teachers was arrested for alleged child abuse, possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia," Solis states, "Of course, we were shocked to hear of this news. As of today, the teacher has not returned to work."

In the letter, Solis further states, "In response to a request by the district, law enforcement conducted a canine sweep of the classroom and law enforcement has assured us that no illegal substance was detected and the classroom is safe."

Solis said LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing "has initiated an internal investigation of the teacher, separate and apart from the criminal investigation."

Solis said a "qualified substitute" will cover for Marolt for the remainder of the school year.

Investigators learned from Child Protective Services Marolt's 7-year-old son, who lives with his mother part-time, tested positive for methamphetamine on or about April 7.

The boy's father voluntarily consented to a drug test on April 13 and those results were negative, police said. CPS indicated Merlot initially refused to submit to a drug test.

A complaint affidavit obtained by ABC-7 identifies Marolt as Melanie Monroe. Police originally identified the woman as Melanie Merlot.

The document states a Child Protective Services investigators conducted a "safe house interview" with the seven-year-old boy and the boy's sister. The girl told the investigator both Marolt and Valenzuela go into the master bathroom together and a "strange odor emits from the bathroom."

The girl told the investigator the odor was not "associated with using, cleaning, or freshening the air of the bathroom."

The boy told investigators that while playing hide and seek, he found foil squares with black streaks in the master bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Investigators executed a search warrant on the apartment shared by Merlot and Valenzuela, her live-in boyfriend.

Inside the apartment, investigators allegedly located narcotics and paraphernalia used to ingest methamphetamine and heroin.

Marolt and Valenzuela were both arrested Monday, May 8, 2017.


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