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The women were released from county jail on bond


FARMINGTON — Two Farmington women who are accused of getting into a fight with teens at Brookside Park while intoxicated are facing multiple child abuse charges.

Joteava Merritt, 33 and Jophira Merritt, 31, each face five third-degree felony counts of child abuse, according to court records.

The women are accused of placing five juveniles in a situation that endangered or might have endangered them, including the women's own children, according to court documents.

They did not have legal representation on July 3.

A Farmington Police Officer was dispatched around 7:40 p.m. on June 27 to Brookside Park at 1915 N. Dustin Ave. on reports of a possible fight.

A female witness said there was a fight involving multiple people, including juveniles, which spread into the roadway of Dustin Avenue.

The witness stated she was driving on Dustin Avenue when she came across a juvenile female on the ground being hit by an adult woman in a black shirt. That adult was later identified as Jophira.

She witnessed a juvenile male try to pull Jophira off of the female.

Jophira allegedly went from striking the female to the male that was trying to pull her off his friend.

The witness stated a second juvenile male was punched in the face, but she did not say which alleged suspect struck the male. The male had a bloody lip after he cut it on his braces.

The witness told an officer the two women instigated the whole fight.

Officers conducted interviews with the five juveniles involved.

Three of them stated they were walking in Brookside Park from the basketball courts to a parking lot when the women approached them and started "talking crap" to them.

The teens started to walk toward the entrance of the park then southbound on the sidewalks along Dustin Avenue as the women followed.

Jophira is accused of "shoulder checking" a juvenile female, which pushed her off the sidewalk and caused her to slide down a six-foot-wall.

The juvenile female told police after she got shoved, that both women grabbed her shirt and started pushing her around until she was pushed on the ground.

A fight broke out after the juvenile female was pushed.

One of the juvenile males stated Jophira grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and started shoving him into the roadway of Dustin Avenue.

The mother of one of juveniles arrived on scene and separated the women from the juveniles.

Two juvenile females later approached an officer. They were a daughter of Jophira and a daughter of Joteava.

They stated they tried to break the fight up but one of them was shoved and another was struck in the arm.

An officer noted in the probable cause statement that both adult women were "obviously intoxicated and smelled of an alcoholic beverage."

Jophira was arrested for disorderly conduct after she did not comply with orders to stop screaming obscenities at an officer and sit on a curb.

Joteava was also charged with resisting, evading or obstructing a peace officer for trying to walk away from the crime scene.

Both women were released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center after posting bond.

Their preliminary hearings are set for the morning of July 10 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

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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