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NM State Police: 12-year-old dies after brother sits on her neck during road trip tantrum

Heather J. Rooks and Khachadourian Rooks were both arrested and charged with abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm on December 1, 2019. (Source: New Mexico State Police)
Heather J. Rooks and Khachadourian Rooks were both arrested and charged with abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm on December 1, 2019. (Source: New Mexico State Police)(GIM)
Published: Dec. 5, 2019 at 9:15 PM MST
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On Dec. 1, 2019, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau responded to Interstate 40 around Laguna for an unresponsive 12-year-old female child, whose condition was believed to be the result of child abuse.

State Police Investigation agents learned that Heather J. Rooks of Pahrump, Nevada, was traveling through New Mexico to Nevada with her 17-year-old son Khachadourian Rooks and her 12-year-old daughter, in a van driven by Heather’s father.

According to Heather and her son, the daughter “threw a tantrum” during the trip. Khachadourian sat on the girl’s face and throat to restrain her for up to 45 minutes until she was not moving. The grandfather then pulled the van over and began CPR on the girl. Emergency Medical Services was called, and the girl was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital.

Heather J. Rooks and Khachadourian Rooks were both arrested and charged with abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm. They were booked into the Cibola County Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers on no bond holds.

This case is still under active investigation by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. The identity of the victim will not be released at this time.

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