GALLUP, N.M. (AP) - A judge on Wednesday reduced bail for the mother of an 8-month-old girl who police say was shot in the face at a New Mexico motel.
Following a hearing, New Mexico State District Judge Robert Baca decided to decrease the bond for Shayanne Nelson from $50,000 to $20,000.
Nelson, 18, was arrested after telling police she was in a Gallup motel shower with her boyfriend, Tyrell Bitsilly, 21, when her 3-year-old boy found a gun and accidentally shot the infant. Nelson said she believed the gun was left in the room by a prior occupant.
Nelson and Bitsilly are facing child abuse charges. Bitsilly also was charged with tampering with evidence. He remained held on $70,000 bond.
It was not clear if Nelson had posted bail. Her attorney, Teresa Gomez, didn’t answer her phone and her voicemail wasn’t accepting messages.
Bitsilly’s attorney, John Bernitz, said police believe the shooting was an accident.
“The hotel they were staying in is often frequented by people who are down on their luck,” Bernitz said. “(Nelson and Bitsilly) believe the gun was left by a previous occupant.”
Police said no other adults were in the room at the time of the shooting. A witness told police he saw Bitsilly wipe the handgun after it occurred.
The criminal complaint does not detail the severity of the baby’s wound.
“Right now detectives are combing through leads,” Gallup Police Capt. Marinda Spencer said. “The investigation is ongoing.”
Police said the baby was taken to Gallup Indian Medical Center - a hospital on the border of the Navajo Reservation and a facility with the U.S. Indian Health Service.
Spencer said the department has not received any medical updates since Tuesday when the center listed the baby in critical condition.
Genevieve Notah, a coordinator for the U.S. Indian Health Service on the Navajo Nation, did not immediately respond to an email.
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center spokeswoman Alex Sanchez declined to say if the girl was being treated at the University of New Mexico Hospital - the state’s only trauma center for children.
Gallup is located 140 miles (225 kilometers) west of Albuquerque and borders the Navajo Nation near the Arizona border.
The unemployment rate in city is roughly twice the national average.
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