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APD charges man with child abuse for losing his 5-year-old daughter while he was drunk

Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE – APD detectives worked with the DA’s Office to file child abuse charges against Nicholas Clinton, who lost his 5-year-old daughter on Dec. 5, 2022 while he was heavily intoxicated and returned to a shelter without her. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Clinton.


Detectives learned through investigation that Clinton was last seen with his daughter around 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Cabana Liquor Store, located at 7915 Central Ave., N.W. The owner said a very intoxicated male arrived at the store with a little girl. The owner refused to serve the male because of his state of intoxication. The male was later identified as Nicholas Clinton based on video surveillance.


The owner said Clinton left with the little girl toward Central Ave., and an adult female was following them. A few minutes later, Clinton returned alone to the store, and he was refused service a second time. The owner said he had to mace Clinton because he was getting violent. The owner said he later took water to Clinton to rinse his eyes. The surveillance showed the woman carrying the girl as they walked east on Central Ave.


Detectives interviewed Melissa Theis, who was found with the child the next morning on a city bus at Girard and Central Ave.


Theis told detectives she found the girl the night before at a tent in the 100 block of Virginia S.E. Theis said the girl was sleeping in a tent belonging to a man she knew as “Short.” She said she recognized the girl because she knew she lived at the Hawthorn shelter with her father. Detectives also interviewed the man, identified as Daryl Peralto, who said the girl arrived at his tent around 8:30 p.m. with a woman. Detectives were not able to locate the woman. Theis and Peralto said there were plenty of blankets and they decided to let her sleep and return her to the shelter in the morning.


Detectives noted that temperatures dropped to 40 degrees that night and the environment around the homeless camp was not safe for a child.