Angel Montoya conviction in death of child ends four-plus year ordeal
The conviction yesterday of Angel Montoya in the death of three-year-old Neveah Gallegos ends a long journey not only for the child's loved ones, but also for police, prosecutors and the public.
Big photos below.
After all, Neveah died in 2007 and Montoya and Miriam Gallegos were arrested shortly thereafter. But justice was a long time coming.
Much of the tale is told in the 2009 indictment against Montoya, on view below in its entirety.
According to Neveah's maternal grandmother, who's quoted in the document, Neveah was happy and healthy in the late summer of 2007. Then, on September 21 of that year, Gallegos approached a woman on Cherokee Street and asked her to call 911. The reason: Neveah had been kidnapped, she said.
Shortly thereafter, Gallegos told Denver Police officers who responded to the call that she'd been walking Neveah to Denver Health Medical Center when a white, four-door car pulled up and a man hopped out of the passenger side, grabbed the child, put a rag over her mouth and climbed back into the vehicle, which sped away an instant later. Gallegos also provided a description of the supposed abductor.
It didn't take long for this dramatization to fall apart. Before long, officers spoke to a witness who lived near the apartment Gallegos and Montoya shared on Logan Street. The neighbor revealed that Montoya had asked to use his phone that afternoon. He called directory assistance to get the number for Sports Authority, where Gallegos worked, and told the person on the other end of the line there was an emergency and he or she needed to come home.
When this information was shared with Gallegos, the indictment continues, she allegedly confirmed that the kidnapping story was bogus and Neveah was dead. She added that Montoya had removed the child's body from the apartment.
From there, Gallegos told cops that Neveah had died of natural causes after failing to respond to her attempts at CPR. Once the child expired, she went on, Montoya put her body in a white trash bag with yellow handles before placing it inside a blue gym bag.
This narrative shifted again shortly thereafter, with Gallegos saying Montoya had been alone with Neveah, who was already dead when she returned home. But neither she nor Montoya revealed the location of the child's body.
At that point, Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough notes that this crime went public in a big way. "Then-police chief [Gerald] Whitman and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey held a joint news conference on a Sunday morning and asked people to help them look for this little girl," she says. "They specifically asked people in Denver to to out and look in their alleys, look in their dumpsters -- and people did. People spent the better part of that Sunday on into Monday looking anywhere they could think of."
A member of the public didn't find her, however. Instead, Kimbrough recalls, "police found her at Lakewood Dry Gulch." Neveah's body was in a trash bag covered with a large tree stump, an old tire and random debris.
Page down to read more about Neveah's story, as well as to see a video and the indictment.