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Father accused of obstructing CYFD investigation


FARMINGTON — A teenage daughter beaten with a kitchen tool. A family dog shot. Puppies boiled on the stove in the presence of children. Court documents detailing the allegations made against Cedar Hill resident Martha Crouch paint a horrifying portrait of a family life marked by child and animal abuse.

Some of the family's 15 kids have leveled child abuse and neglect allegations against their parents. The charges made by one of those children led to the criminal charges.

Martha Crouch, 53, has been charged with a third-degree felony count of child abuse, a fourth-degree felony count of extreme cruelty to animals and a misdemeanor count of obstruction of investigation of child abuse or neglect, according to court records.

Husband Timothy Crouch, 57, is accused of a misdemeanor count of obstruction of investigation of child abuse or neglect, according to court records. Both suspects were in custody on a no-bond hold on the afternoon of June 25 at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

A San Juan County Sheriff's Office investigation found allegations that children who did not go to school also did not get enough food to eat and were ordered to hide from social workers. Beatings were not unusual, some said, and the family would move at a moment’s notice if police or social workers began investigating.

A house of horrors

Martha is accused of beating her 17-year-old daughter with a kitchen tool, shooting the daughter's dog and boiling multiple puppies in a large pot at the family's residence in Cedar Hill, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The couple were arrested around 12:45 p.m. on June 24 at their residence, according to San Juan County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Jayme Harcrow.

Martha and Timothy Crouch did not have legal representation on June 25.

Some children of Martha and Timothy Crouch levied multiple allegations against their parents in the nine-page affidavit for Martha Crouch's arrest warrant. The criminal charges filed against Martha focus solely on accusations from one of the couple's 15 children.

They have eight sons and seven daughters.

The parents have not been charged with any additional crimes as part of the ongoing investigation.

Agencies from several states involved

When asked about the multiple allegations levied by the children, Harcrow stated the Sheriff's Office is following up with multiple states and agencies across the country.

Court documents show the New Mexico Children, Youth and Family Department has received hundreds of pages of reports from social service agencies in several states, including Alaska, Kansas, Missouri and Montana, involving the family.

"It's an ongoing investigation that is going to take us some time," Harcrow told The Daily Times.

Martha was charged after law enforcement in Arizona and New Mexico interviewed the 17-year-old daughter about abuse and animal cruelty allegedly committed by her mother. Two sisters of the alleged victim picked her up in Farmington and took her to Arizona to keep her safe.

The daughter states in the affidavit that about a week before June 1, she was upset that she and her siblings were not receiving any kind of education, and she said she was going to call social services on her parents.

Martha allegedly struck her daughter with a kitchen tool multiple times, aiming for areas where bruising would be covered up with clothing.

The daughter also recalled, around October 2018, that Martha told her she was going to fix something for her daughter's birthday.

When the daughter entered the kitchen, she stated she saw puppies from her mother's dog, Lady, were in the boiling pot of water on top of the stove.

Martha allegedly shot the daughter's dog, Pip, on the same day she allegedly boiled the puppies on the stove. The parents claimed the dog was sick, but the daughter said she knew that wasn't true.

Pip was buried in the family's backyard because the parents didn't want to be caught by the fire department again for having animals in the burn pit, according to court documents.

Timothy and Martha were charged after they allegedly obstructed and interfered with an investigation by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department after Timothy received a call from the agency on May 22.

Timothy's arrest warrant affidavit states the family has a history of fleeing an area when child protective services or law enforcement become involved.

The detective investigating the case spoke to the 17-year-old daughter, who stated Martha and four young children hid from CYFD at a neighbor's residence when they visited the family's residence on May 22.

After CYFD visited, the daughter stated Martha and the children packed up and drove to Durango, Colorado.

Then, after a few days, the mother and children were taken to a campsite at Navajo Dam to hide from CYFD and police.

Martha, Timothy and the children were later located on June 1 at the Encore Motel at 1900 E. Main St. in Farmington, according to court documents.

The four young children were in the custody of CYFD on June 25, according to Harcrow.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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