Aztec father accused of threatening adopted daughter with handgun

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — An Aztec man was accused earlier this month of placing a handgun against the head of his 16-year-old adopted daughter.

Rodney Hutchens, 48, was charged April 17 in Aztec Magistrate Court with child abuse, a first offense, and false imprisonment.

According to the arrest warrant, an investigator from the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department reported to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office on April 10 that the youth had reported that her father, Hutchens, had pointed a gun at her on the night of April 2.

Hutchens declined to comment for this story.

Rodney and Renee Hutchens adopted the girl in November 2013, but she was fostered by the Hutchens for several months before that point.

The girl told detectives that the incident occurred at the family's residence at 1226 McCoy St. in Aztec.

She said Rodney Hutchens placed a small black handgun against her left temple and said: "If I'm dying, we are all dying together."

She said she had been fighting for several weeks with her adopted mother, which upset Rodney Hutchens. She said that on April 2 she slammed a door, which resulted in an argument with her mother, according to the warrant. She told detectives that her father then came into her room, threw her to the ground and started choking her.

He then dragged her into the living room, picked up the couch and dropped it on her, the warrant states.

Rodney Hutchens alternated between telling her he loved her and telling her he did not want to be her father anymore, the warrant states. He pointed the firearm at her head and his own, according to the warrant.

Another adopted daughter of the Hutchens, Michelle Salas, 25, took the girl to her own home after the incident, the warrant states. The girl is currently being cared for by a friend of the Hutchens family, the warrant states.

A black firearm matching the description of the one pointed at the girl was seized by the sheriff's office on April 14, the warrant states.

The Hutchens have three biological children and four foster children, the warrant states.

Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln said Tuesday officials from the New Mexico Children, Youths and Families Department are investigating the incident.

Hutchens is expected to appear at a preliminary examination hearing on May 14.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.